‘It’s a rock ‘em sock ‘em into the movie kind of thing…it’s like you don’t know what the hell is going on.’
It took Michael Bay three million feet of film to create worlds full of breathtaking stunts and non-stop action in “6 Underground” shot around the streets of Florence, Siena, Rome, Abu Dhabi, and Budapest.
But even if you only watch what would likely go down later on as “the greatest all-time chase” that opened a movie, it would be more than enough to make you say, “Huh? How did he do that?”
“It’s the toughest movie I’ve ever had to cut,” he admitted.
Released on Netflix last month, it certainly sees the director ending the year with a bang that carries over to the new year.
In “6 Underground,” six individuals from all around the globe, each the very best at what they do, have been chosen not only for their skill, but for a unique desire to delete their pasts to change the future.
Ryan Reynolds, Mélanie Laurent, Corey Hawkins, Adria Arjona, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Ben Hardy, Lior Raz, Payman Maadi, and Dave Franco lead the cast.
“Each one has a very specific skill. It’s kind of a sum of all-its parts-type story. As a unit, we are amazing together. But if we lose any one member, we’d be kind of screwed. It’s a true ensemble piece,” Ryan said of the characters they played.
“Each has their own aspect of the story they need to tell. Each has a kind of irreplaceable skill or talent that’s needed to accomplish a very dangerous mission.”
If everything is so masterfully executed, so well thought out, it’s because Michael loves the genre.
“I’ve always wanted to do the spy genre. It’s just one of the things that I love looking at. I love the real CIA stuff. I love the true stories,” he said. “But making it funny, darker, twisting it (in ‘6 Underground’).”
And taking the action to an entirely new level.
“It’s a dying art, doing real stunts,” he remarked.
Case in point: The scenes shot in Italy.
“I remember we were shooting in Florence, Italy and my first week was this giant car chase,” Ryan recalled. “You think you’ve seen it all in a car chase until Michael gets his hands on it… we’d be driving a hundred miles an hour down a street with one inch on either side of stonewall! I think that speaks to your faith in these precision drivers.”
Of course, Michael hired the best drivers in the world — or else!
“They are utterly amazing drivers with skills unmatched by anyone,” Ryan attested.
Michael returned the compliment.
“Ryan’s fast and he likes getting it done. I’m a very fast shooter, so that style with us worked really well. He nails it.”
Asked to describe his character named One, the actor talked mile a minute.
“One is a billionaire, which is a nice work if you can get it. And he basically forms his own kind of vigilante-slash-militia. I think that’s interesting because, you know, it feels like in life we’re kind of on this endless loop and cycle of history repeating itself. I thought it was kind of neat to see somebody who sort of hits at a certain stage and then just goes after this one problem. I thought that was fun.
“And Rhett (Reese) and Paul (Wernick) (the writers) really, I think, delivered not just in the dialogue, but in great action set-pieces. If I read ‘6 Underground’ and it wasn’t attached to Michael Bay, I don’t know that I would have wanted to do it, because you filter that through the prism of Michael Bay, where he’s doing huge spectacle that’s in-camera, not necessarily CGI. You’re kind of reaching back and getting a little old-school Bay with a movie like this. Which I think is so refreshing and weirdly unique in terms of an opportunity.
“I just love that Michael’s returning to that form of ‘Bad Boys’ and ‘The Rock,’ to those kinds of films that I grew up loving so much. In this, you get to see his practical spectacles as opposed to what we’re used to (with movies these days), which is everything made in the computer.”
Michael differentiated “6 Underground” from “Bad Boys.”
“When I approached ‘Bad Boys,’ I was trying to come up with a style, which is a fast-cutting style. With this one, I wanted to improve upon that style.
“A normal movie has about 2,000, 2,500, 3,000 shots. This movie has about 7,000 shots, but it’s two hours and six minutes — my shortest movie in a decade and a half, if you want me to date myself. It’s got an interesting style to it. It just feels different.”
In the end, viewers don’t have to think about the process, but just enjoy the results — especially that wicked opening scene meant to have you at hello.
“The first 20 minutes of the movie, you say, ‘What the F is going on?’ Because it’s a rock ’em sock ’em into the movie kind of thing… It’s like you don’t know what the hell is going on. And that works to the style because they wanted the audience to try to figure it out. We wanted to drop right in the middle of it (the car chase). It’s an interesting action and character chase,” Michael said.
If you’ve not seen the movie yet, and you’re not ready for adrenaline to go up, then let Ryan warn you.
“Michael is known for, and very good at, blowing stuff up,” Ryan said. “He blew a lot of stuff up here.”