Problems arise when 6 Underground attempts to lighten the mood with Bay's unapologetically broad verbal and physical comedy, which can make James Cameron look like Whit Stillman. Nuns give the finger, laughing gas gets deployed, and a villain receives an unwelcome bullet to the head while examining a bulbous zit in a mirror. (For all his love fluid-based, gross-out splatter gags, Bay rarely lets his heroes sweat, preferring to film everyone like they stepped off the set of a French perfume commercial.) The constant yelling and gesticulating makes for an occasionally odd fit with Reynolds, a star with a persona rooted in smart-aleck-ey sarcasm and above-it-all meta archness. He lacks the genuine touch of hysterical madness that performers like Nicolas Cage in The Rock, Martin Lawrence in Bad Boys, or even Mark Whalberg in Pain and Gain bring to Bay land. Where are frequent Bay repertory players Ed Harris or Steve Buscemi when you need them?
From an action movie risk management perspective, 6 Underground has enough contingency plans that it doesn't need to only rely on the Ryan Reynolds charm offensive for its two-hour runtime. The too-much decadence of the major shoot-em-up sequences, executed with maximum firepower and a dollop of visual wit, keeps the movie chugging along, and the supporting cast, particularly Laurent and Garcia-Rulfo, make the most of their showcase moments. The violent carnage and wall-to-wall zingers can be an awkward fit with the amorphous talk of regime change, refugee camps, and chemical weapons attacks, but the movie is goofy enough to get away with the occasional allusion to the real world. Ultimately, Bay's creative investment strategy pays off: If you're going to burn money, you might as well blow it up.