Michael "Beats by Dre" Bay possesses one of the greatest talents a post-capitalist filmmaker can have: the uncanny ability to jam more product placement into his movies than most Super Bowl commercial breaks. But with his upcoming film, Bay seems to have taken shilling to a chilling new level, making an entire action epic aimed entirely at a single niche: people who've been on the cover of Fortune.
Coming to Netflix on December 13, 6 Underground tells the story of six renegade billionaires, led by Ryan Reynolds in auto-snark mode, who fake their deaths in order to become a blinged-out vigilante death squad taking out the worst people on the planet. Sprinkle in a Anthony Mackie or Jason Bateman, and you have the recipe for an above-average Bay satire in the bulgy vein of Pain & Gain, where the most powerful people in the world slowly realize they're not so tough without corporate lawyers and union-busters backing them up.
Except that, sadly, 6 Underground isn't a comedy. Instead it's just another bad Bay action movie with bad Bay lines ("If they exist, they can be made ... not to") and bad Bay action sequences (and also a pretty great-looking one where the world's biggest magnet gets activated in the middle of a gunfight). At which point you have to ask yourself who this movie is for. Who exactly was champing at the bit to see billionaires kick ass, except for other billionaires cathartically having their fantasy fulfilled of being Batman (if Wayne Enterprises also forbade workers from taking bathroom breaks)?
Because for the rest of us, it might actually be a bit weird to have to root for people who probably haven't paid a dime in taxes blowing up bridges and causing 50-car pileups while chasing vaguely ethnic dudes. Or be expected to cheer when six former oligarchs use all their expensive toys to take out government agents like the entire world is one big game of Grand Theft Auto.
Worst of all, given Bay's track record of placating the powerful, there's very little chance this movie won't just be PR for the ultra rich, an action epic which reinforces that most dangerous of billionaire myths: That of bootstrapping capitalists who, tired of their hands being tied by red tape, justifiably go over the heads of petty bureaucrats to fix things their way. After all, in reality "fixing things their way" means gathering people's data and destroying the climate. And we're sure the movie will try hard to make us believe that these are the good billionaires, except we're pretty sure Bill Gates doesn't dream of faking his own death just he can go around murdering people and get away with it.
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