I was recently talking with some co-workers about crap movies that have no redeeming value whatsoever, and yet, look great, are obvious displays of talent and artistry, etc. Coincidentally, I’d recently watched the trailer for Michael Bay’s upcoming 6 Underground, and if ever there was a poster boy for crappy, vacuous movies that nevertheless look fantastic, it’s Bay.
It’s easy to dismiss Michael Bay’s movies for their gratuitous violence, paper-thin plots and characters, and emphasis of style over substance of any kind — to name but a few faults. And yet, for better or worse, Michael Bay films consistently look epic and awesome, a phenomena that Tony Zhou breaks down in this excellent video.
At the end of his “Bayhem” breakdown, Zhou points out that Bay’s filmmaking is hamstrung precisely because it’s so focused on looking “epic” in every single shot. But if this first 6 Underground trailer is any indication, then Bay clearly has no intention of compromising his style, i.e., things still blow up real good, the editing is frenetic and seizure-inducing, there are stylish aerial shots aplenty, the slow-motion feels epic, and so on.
But at the risk of losing any aesthete cred I might have, this also looks like a lot of fun — and I think much of that is due to the casting of Ryan Reynolds as the leader of a group of billionaires who fake their own deaths so they can fight bad guys. Reynold’s smart-ass comedy seems perfectly suited to Bay’s hyper-visual style. (Of course, I also thought Mads Mikkelsen would be a perfect fit for Jonas Åkerlund’s stylized visuals, and that was an absolute disaster.)
Michael Bay’s 6 Underground — which, at $150 million, is one of the most expensive Netflix films to date, starts streaming on December 13. (No word yet, though, on whether or not the Sneaker Pimps appear on the soundtrack.)