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Film / 6 Underground

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6 Underground is an action film directed by Michael Bay and written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (of Deadpool and Zombieland fame). The film stars Ryan Reynolds, Mélanie Laurent, Dave Franco, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Adria Arjona, Corey Hawkins, and Ben Hardy.

It tells the story of a billionaire adventurer who hires people who presumed dead, calling them "ghosts", for his vigilante team. They use their new-found power of not being tied to any specific agency or prior life commitments to form a vigilante squad to take down notoriously horrible people and criminals. They all have number codenames to protect each others' identities. His latest target is dictator Rovach Alimov of Turgistan, who he plans to replace with Rovach's much nicer younger brother, Murat.

The film was released on Netflix on December 13, 2019.

6 Underground provides examples of the following tropes:

  • 0% Approval Rating: None of the Turgistanis appear to like Rovach Alimov. All it takes for them to rise up is a video from Murat calling on them. His own military even turns on him pretty quickly when Murat speaks to the brass. As he massacres defenseless people and kills even his own soldiers merely on suspicion this isn't really surprising.
  • Anti-Hero Team: The 6 are a group of vigilantes who kill evil people and would destroy anything in their path to do that; all for peace.
  • Artistic License – Chemistry: The chemical weapons purchased by Rovach are repeatedly referred to by multiple characters as “Sarin VX”. However, VX and Sarin are two different compounds that behave in very different ways when exposed to an atmosphere. It would make little sense to deploy them together as they are both nerve agents that kill in about the same way (severely disrupting the body's signaling between the nervous and muscular systems, leading to a prolonged neuromuscular blockade, flaccid paralysis of all the muscles in the body including the diaphragm, and death by asphyxiation).note 
  • Bad Boss: Rovach orders the next men in line after his generals killed, as they stood the most to gain in their deaths. He isn't actually sure who did it, but it's just to be safe. Then he promotes the men behind them.
  • Bald of Evil: President Evil Rovach Alimov has a shiny domed head. Contrast with his morally superior brother Murat who has more head hair and beard.
  • Battle Couple: Two and Three hook up during the film, and spend the second half of the film fighting side-by-side.
  • Big Bad: President Rovach Alimov is the dictator of Turgistan and the central antagonist. One was present at Alimov's massacre of a civilian hospital and intends to bring him down at any cost.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: The violence in the film is considerably more graphic than in the rest of Michael Bay's filmography, with tons of people getting bloodily killed and dismembered on screen.
  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass: Early in the film, one of the Six removes a lawyer's eye (according to One it was Two) and One spends much of the opening Car Chase trying to unlock the lawyer's phone with the eye.
  • Burial at Sea: The team disposes of Six by dumping his body bag in the ocean.
  • Cain and Abel: Rovach Alimov is an evil dictator who massacres people trying to escape from his rule, and the aid workers treating them. His brother Murat hates this, and wants to change things in their country. Rovach has him held under house arrest (although in a very nice penthouse) before the Ghosts spring him to take Rovach's place.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • One mentions he made his fortune in neodymium magnets. During the battle on the yacht, he activates another one to immobilize the soldiers fighting them.
    • Early in the effort to free Murat in Hong Kong, Seven shoots a pool so Four can have an air pocket to breathe. Later on, Seven shoots that spot again, creating a wave so that several Mooks are swept out of the building to their deaths.
  • The Coup: The entire goal of the movie is to topple Rovach Alimov by having his more popular brother Murat inspire an uprising against him.
  • Crowd Hockey: The opening has One fiddling around with an eyeball he's trying to use to unlock a phone. At one point he drops it on the floor and Six has to be very careful moving the pedals so he doesn't squash it.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Three used to be a professional hitman, and though the details are sketchy, he is implied to have specifically been a cartel sicario. Whoever his previous employer was, he is ashamed of it and wants to use his skills for good.
  • Deconstruction: Of the popular Ragtag Bunch of Misfits trope. The operators which make up the Ghosts are all highly-skilled specialists, but they've only worked together on one mission prior to the main plot, and have various skill levels from formal and informal sources. As a result they are barely functional as a team, often arguing, yelling, or even goofing off in the middle of missions, culminating in Seven almost killing Three because of the latter's erratic behavior thanks to the laughing gas poured into the building.
  • Destructive Saviour: Over the course of their mission the 6 leave a path of death and destruction across three continents. Florence in particular has several of its cultural treasures wrecked.
  • Distressed Dude: Four gets into several life-threatening situations during both the Hong Kong mission and the final one in Turgistan requiring aid from the team.
  • Do with Him as You Will: Rovach's ultimate fate is to be dropped into one of the refugee camps he had previously bombed, leaving him to be beaten to death by an angry mob.
  • The Driver: Six's role in the group. The film opens with him trying to get the group out of an operation. Three takes his place as lead driver after Six's death in the opening.
  • Dualvertisement: In another instance of Ryan Reynolds employing Refuge in Audacity, his self-produced advertisement for the film (and by extension, Netflix) also squeezed in advertisements for Samsung and his own Aviation Gin.
  • Due to the Dead: When Seven fakes his own death, he gets a full military funeral, which he watches from afar.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The team goes through hell and back to enact a coup in Turgistan, but in the end it's a better day for everyone. One seems to relax his "dead to the world" rule, as he goes to see his son in person and Two gets to meet Three's mother with him. Four and Five are seen bonding and rock-climbing in Monument Valley, Seven sheds his survivor's guilt, throwing away the gun that he was going to use to commit suicide. Last but not least, the team is still together, with the implication that they are going to move on to the next name on their list.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Played for laughs, when the mass-murdering dictator Rovach critizes the admittingly very tacky T-shirt of his chief of security in Hong Kong.
    • Played more seriously towards the end. Rovach orders his generals to target his own people "not where they're strong, but where they're weak" including hospitals, schools, and children specifically. Even Rovach's head bodyguard, who has been the picture of loyalty and sociopathic stoicism throughout the film, gives him a disturbed look.
  • Faking the Dead: All the "Ghosts" faked their deaths to become vigilantes against the international criminals and dictators of the world.
  • Flat Character: Five/Amelia whose backstory is left untold, and aside from her real name and profession we don't know anything about her. She also doesn't contribute much to the field missions aside from the one field surgery.
  • Flipping the Bird: A group of nuns do this to Six after he nearly runs them over in the opening chase through Florence.
  • Friendly Sniper: Seven, who is the only one to look out for Four during the Hong Kong mission like shooting a hole in the pool Four was hiding in to give him air, and is the one who breaks One's no-name protocol to make everyone feel more attached to each other.
  • Gilded Cage: Rovach keeps Murat locked up in a high-rise penthouse suite with every amenity imaginable... as well as guards who are under orders to not just keep him there, but ensure bodily harm if anything happens to his brother.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Subverted when Seven crams a flashbang into a mook's mouth; the camera cuts away as soon as the mook's head explodes, but the next shot has said mook keeling over towards it, giving us a lovely view of the fleshy stump on his neck where his head used to be.
  • Grenade Launcher: In the opening sequence, Four kills four Mooks by shooting a grenade into their car at point-blank range.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: One of the Mooks on the yacht is killed when the grenade he tries to throw winds up where he is, thanks to One's magnetic device.
  • Hollywood Magnetism: One activates a device he touts as the "world's biggest magnet" to magnetize the guards wearing bulletproof vests to the side of a yacht.
  • Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Turgistan's top generals are called the Four Horsemen in reference to this trope. It doesn't quite apply in practice though since they don't get to do much.
  • Impaled Palm: One of the Mooks in the yacht shootout is killed after Two pins his hand to a table with a kebab.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • One of the bodyguards in Hong Kong tosses a bunch of grenades at Four; they miss, but they cause a number of pipes and girders to fall into the street below, killing about a dozen cops in their cars.
    • Several of the guards on the yacht are killed by flying tenderizers and knives pinning them to walls thanks to One's magnetism gadget.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: In the opening chase, Two manages to take out a motorcycle-riding Mook with a pistol while sitting in the backseat of a moving car, in the middle of being operated on.
  • Impromptu Tracheotomy: Six is killed when he crashes the getaway car into a forklift which impales him through the throat.
  • Innocent Bystander: At least a dozen innocent people are killed in the crossfire between the Six and some mooks during the chase scene in Florence.
  • Kill It with Water: Seven kills several Mooks in Hong Kong when he shoots out a pool wall, causing a wave that sweeps them out the window.
  • Klingon Promotion: Alimov orders his four most senior colonels thrown off a building on the suspicion that they might have orchestrated the murder of his four generals to cause this.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: So what is Rovach's punishment for making the Turgistanis lives hell as well as murdering perhaps hundreds of his own citizens? It's getting dropped into an angry mob of his own citizens and being beaten to death.
  • Laughing Gas: The heroes use Nitrous Oxide smoke grenades to incapacitate enemy guards.
  • Mercy Kill: Rovach angrily demands this from One when he sees the Six are going to drop him in a refugee camp where everyone wants him dead. He doesn't receive it and is beaten to death by an angry mob instead.
  • Moe Greene Special: Three kills one of the Four Horsemen by shooting him through a hotel's peephole into the man's eye.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: When discussing their plans in Hong Kong in a small diner, One suddenly addresses the complete random stranger who sat himself down at their table and mockingly treats him as one of the team for a brief moment before moving the conversation elsewhere.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Rovach Alimov seems like a mix of Bashar Assad (from his acts) and Muammar Gaddafi (due to the way he dies).
  • No Name Given: One and Six's real names aren't revealed. All the rest eventually reveal their real (first) names.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Intentionally defied by One, as one of the rules of being a Ghost is to leave a man out in the field if they somehow cannot make it back to the rest of the Ghosts. Subverted later on as Seven wants to help out Four by shooting a guard chasing after him, much to One's annoyance. In the climax, One later defies his own rule by shooting one of Rovach's men as he is about to kill Four.
  • No Range Like Point-Blank Range: Four kills four Mooks by shooting a grenade into their car from just outside their window. Bonus points for smacking a mook in the mouth with the grenade before detonation.
  • Only One Name: The Ghosts who reveal their names only reveal their first names.
  • Only Sane Man: Seven, who objects to a lot of One's orders and protocols as being unnecessary and dangerous. Justified as Seven's former Delta Force, whereas the rest of the team, excepting Two who's CIA, are civilians or criminals.
  • Pink Is Feminine: Five immediatly calls dibs on the pink ballistic-gasmask.
  • President Evil: Rovach Alimov is a brutal dictator, who regularly massacres refugee camps of people trying to flee his rule, just to inspire fear. And when there's an uprising against him, he orders his military to indiscriminately open fire on the population, specifically to target schools, hospitals, and children. He also has his chauffeur run over civilians when they get in the way of his car.
  • Professional Killer: Three was a hitman before joining the team.
  • Qurac: Turgistan is seemingly in the Middle East, likely based on Syria, though its name is derived from Central Asia (and the people speak Turkmen). And culture from Spanish/Latin American countries since they celebrate Dia de Las Muertos.
  • Rank Scales with Asskicking: One is in charge, and quickly proves that he's able to account for himself quite well in a fight during the Hong Kong mission and the climactic mission to Turgistan.
  • Roofhopping: During the Action Prologue, Four hops across the roofs of Florence, including running down the dome of the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral.
  • Running Gag:
    • Seven replaces their driver, Six, who died on the first mission of the Ghosts. The team point out how now their number names are now idiosyncratic, with Seven wanting to be called Six throughout the movie.
    • Three attempting to learn the language of whatever country they're in currently.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Six is killed early in the movie to show how dangerous the Ghosts' missions are, and to set up the plot to bring in Seven.
  • Scenery Porn: There are some gorgeous aerial views of Abu Dhabi and Florence in the trailer.
  • Sequel Hook: One has a set of ten photographs of the people most responsible for human misery in the world on the wall of the Ghosts' command bunker. Alimov was only the first one on the list.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial:
    One': Your client is a piece of shit war criminal.
    Alimov's Lawyer: My client has never ordered gas attacks.
  • Suicide Mission: Everyone treats the final battle against Alimov as one. Everyone survives.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: One's entire plan. Putting together a team of international badasses to take down evil men sounds great on paper. But what happens when six (admittedly very skilled) people are thrown on the same team with the same goal, but have different attitudes and ideals, have never worked together before, and have effectively zero command structure? Most of their missions end up as "glorious clusterfucks" with insane collateral damage and they only barely scrape by on the skin of their teeth. Only the last mission goes off (relatively) smoothly as the team gets more in-sync.
  • Survivor's Guilt: Seven has a bad case of this after he didn't get clearance to shoot a car bomber before the bomber killed several of his comrades, and One recruited him by telling him he could follow his conscience to take the shot. This comes up when Four is pinned down in Hong Kong and Seven goes back to save him.
  • Tap on the Head: Hilariously averted. Three tries to punch out Murat to make it easier to extract him. Half a dozen punches later, Murat is still conscious and trying to get away from the lunatic who keeps punching him for no reason.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: The Six tend to be abrasive and short-tempered with each other and especially with One both on and off the job, a result of bringing six complete strangers of very different backgrounds together to do insanely dangerous missions without any training.
  • Two Girls to a Team: The titular Six include two women, one of them a doctor and the other a CIA spook.
  • Unfriendly Fire: Seven accidentally shoots Three in the head. Fortunately, Three is wearing a bulletproof mask.
  • Vigilante Militia: The Ghosts are a group of vigilantes operating without borders to combat terrorist and oppressive governments.
  • Where It All Began: One takes Rovach Alimov to the place where One witnessed the massacre of a civilian hospital and decided to take drastic action against Rovach's regime. He then drops Rovach into the crowd, allowing them to beat him to death.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The film never quite specifies where Turgistan is located, with a lot of seemingly contradictory clues being dropped throughout the film.
  • Your Head Asplode: Seven kills one of Alimov's Mooks by stuffing a flashbang into his mouth, without thinking it would blow up the guy's head.