Explosions? Check. Car chases? Check. Attractive cast? Check. Michael Bay’s latest action film ‘6 Underground’ — shot partially in Abu Dhabi — is now streaming on Netflix, starring ‘Deadpool’s’ Ryan Reynolds at the centre of all the fiery commotion.
The 43-year-old Canadian actor called it an “old-school Michael Bay spectacle film — it’s just action upon action upon more action” in Empire Magazine. Bay’s previous work includes the sci-fi disaster film ‘Armageddon’ (1998) and ‘Transformers’ (2007).
“There’s a car chase in this movie that’s unlike anything else,” Reynolds said, “a ride round Florence that’s totally wild, speeding in a Day-Glo green Alfa Romeo at 150mph down narrow walkways that should never be used for anything but walking … I thought I was gonna die. Weirdly enough, it was Michael Bay’s life that flashed before my eyes.”
But before you delve into this big budget actioner, we break down six things to know.
The story follows offbeat billionaire One, played by Ryan Reynolds, who recruits a motley crew of vigilantes. Each of them is assigned a number — Two is Melanie Laurent, Three is Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Four is Ben Hardy, Five is Adria Arjona, Six is Dave Franco and Seven is Corey Hawkins. Nameless, chiselled and trigger happy, the cohorts — who have led their loved ones to believe they’re all dead — attempt to bring about justice around the globe, including in the fictional country of Turgistan.
‘6 Underground’ is one of Netflix’s most expensive productions to date. The explosive film cost the streaming giant about $150 million (Dh550.8 million) to make, according to reports, once considered to be Netflix’s most costly project ever. That is until Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Irishman’ came around last month, starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, with a budget that was estimated to exceed $200 million.
‘6 Underground’ is the latest major motion picture to film in Abu Dhabi. The tally of locations used came up to 24, including the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Aldar’s headquarters, Etihad Towers, Arkan – Al Ain Cement Factory, twofour54’s backlot and the Liwa desert. You might remember the Shaikh Zayed Bridge and Grand Mosque from the trailer. In the film, Abu Dhabi doubles for cities and countries across different continents — including Las Vegas, California, Hong Kong, California, Nigeria and the fictional Turgistan. According to production hub twofour54, Bay is the first director to shoot a feature film inside the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
The cast and crew spent nearly a month on principal photography in the UAE, from November 12 to December 5. But Reynolds also had a chance to bring wife Blake Lively with him for some downtime, along with their daughter Inez and their son James. The family enjoyed spending Thanksgiving there, however, one thing did go horribly wrong — Reynold’s haircut. “The last portion of the movie, I’m wearing a hat the whole time, so I decided to just get a haircut. But I went to a barber in like a strip mall [in Abu Dhabi] and it looked like someone cut my hair with a loofah, like they just sort of rubbed it off. Or maybe used a hammer,” joked Reynolds. Speaking on ‘The Ellen DeGenres Show’, the actor added that you are typically not allowed to cut your hair while shooting a film without supervision. “There was [a mirror at the barber’s but] at the time it was all happening in slow motion, I was like ‘I’m going to be fine, there’s no way it looks this bad — the mirror’s warped!’ It was sort of fun — I liked having it for a minute.”
‘6 Underground’ is one of more than 85 major productions to film in Abu Dhabi. Previous Hollywood movies to shoot in the emirate include ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’, the ‘Fast & Furious’ franchise and ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’. This marks the second Netflix production to film in Abu Dhabi, too, with the first being Brad Pitt’s ‘War Machine’ in 2015.
Early reviews of ‘6 Underground’ haven’t been entirely favourable as many critics found flaws with the premise and execution. Barry Hertz from Canadian publication Globe and Mail, however, gave the film a 3.5/4 rating and called it “vulgar … absurd … [and] completely enthralling”. Meanwhile, GQ’s Thomas Barrie called watch ‘6 Underground’ a “stressful experience.” “Not because of the pointless noise, the bad writing or the weird tacit endorsement of the military-industrial complex, but because I was worried I wouldn’t be able to articulate just how bad the film is and how intensely unpleasant it is to watch...” Arriving somewhere in the middle, Grace Randolph of Beyond the Trailer wrote: “It’s a bad movie, and very outdated thanks to Michael Bay. But it’s also very watchable thanks to a game cast, thrilling action sequences and beautiful locations.” The film — which released on Friday — currently has a 32 per cent approval rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, with an audience score of 67 per cent.
Don’t miss it!
‘6 Underground’ is now streaming on Netflix. Watch the trailer below: