6 Underground is the latest tsunami of cinematic carnage from Michael Bay, following a team of vigilantes as they embark on a mission to take down a dictator in the fictional Middle Eastern country of Turgistan. Its non-linear narrative takes place over a period of four years and it can be a little confusing to keep events in chronological order.
After being unable to ignore the injustices of the world, each of the group have dropped off the radar to right some wrongs, one bad guy preying on innocents at a time. Even leaving behind their names, the team consists of One, a billionaire philanthropist, Two, a former CIA agent, Three, a hitman, Four, a ‘skywalker’ (a rooftop parkour runner and sadly, not a Jedi), Five, a doctor, Six, a driver, and Seven, a Delta Force sniper.
The timeline of events ‘begins’ in 2015 when One witnesses first-hand the tactics of dictator Rochav Amilov while on a humanitarian mission to Turgistan and civilians are killed in a bombing. Six months later he encounters the tyrant in Paris at an upscale performance of Richard III, becoming disgusted at the idea that such atrocities can be committed without punishment, subsequently faking his death in an airplane accident so he can go underground and battle the evil of humanity more directly.
In 2017, Two, still with the CIA, hands Rochav’s democratically-inclined brother Murat over to him as part of a shady government deal. The other two flashback segments are not dated, but it doesn’t take much to assume that the team’s numerical designations are the order in which One recruited them, meaning the scene of Three seeing how his work affects the living after unwittingly orphaning the young daughter of one of his marks, and Four being caught by One and faking a Saw-type deathtrap as a joke, took place in that order prior to the mission in Florence, the hyperkinetic nonsense of which opened the film.
Following that, we see that in the recent past, Seven becomes disillusioned with the army after being refused an order that could have saved the lives of his comrades, and four months after the Florence mission is recruited by One.
Beyond this, things are rather more streamlined, with the team first ambushing Rochav’s generals in Las Vegas, traveling to Hong Kong to free from Murat from the penthouse apartment in which he’s imprisoned (which Rochev’s lawyer states is seven months prior to Five’s supposed death), then staging the coup in Turgistan and installing Murat as president after he inspires its people to revolt against his brother’s oppression.
Aside from the globetrotting and time hopping, the film also periodically muses on the importance or otherwise of family, sparked by the opening scene’s suggestion that One was abandoned as a child and raised in an orphanage, while the coda suggests he’s the father of the son of the barmaid with whom he had a one night stand and sees him establishing a will to leave all his wealth to the child should he die in his vigilante escapades. However, any meaning that might have been gleaned from this was largely was overshadowed by the temporal shenanigans, and should 6 Underground end up with a sequel, then something a little more linear might be in order.