Director Michael Bay is back at his most Michael Bay-iest with this positively outrageous and over-the-top dramedy thriller/actioner about a small team of “ghost” mercenaries that travel the world taking out bad guys without permission. Think Mission:Impossible meets Oceans 11 with The Expendables thrown in.
Their ‘batcave’ is in that airplane graveyard in Mojave and they don’t have names, only numbers. We first meet them after a harrowing, 15-minute eye-popping, and nerve-jangling car chase through downtown Italy that makes the car chase in Baby Driver look tame. It’s nothing less than art on film. Filled with smart-alack quips, bodies flying, and blood squirting, it opens the film like none other. Anyway, leading this team is One (Ryan Reynolds), a tech-billionaire who’s funding this rag-tag group and has a penchant for Deadpool one-liners. There’s also Two (Melanie Laurent) a spy & skilled assassin, hitman Three (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) who could be Gerard Butler’s brother), parkour expert and thief Four (Ben Hardy), physician Five (Adria Aronja), and super-driver Six (Casey Affleck).
But after losing their driver, One initiates a new recruit into their team: Seven (Corey Hawkins), a U.S. sniper that has survivors guilt. Through flashbacks we see each of their mini-backstories and their next mission: topple the regime of Turgistan by eliminating the top leaders, including Rovach Alimov (Lior Raz), the current dictator, and install his peace-loving brother, Murat Alimov (Peyman Maadi) as the new ruler. But first they gotta find both Royach & Murat, who are ghosts themselves. Through clues, electronic back-doors, and just plain killing people, they find Murat prisoner in a Hong Kong penthouse.
Faster than you can say, “Avengers assemble”, the team goes into action to rescue Murat, which his quite the daunting task. Next, they all go to Turgistan to complete their mission, but things get absolutely crazy there. And I DO mean crazy! More car chases, shoot-outs galore, fights, mayhem, team members ‘not sure if they can do this anymore’, plans going south, and can we talk about the carnage? The body-count here is extensive and features some of the bloodiest, goriest, and ickiest gruesome deaths yet! Yuckk!! But, what do you expect from a Michael Bay picture?
His signature directing style is all over the place: overt & sweeping camera movements, quick-cuts, slam-edits, explosions galore, dramatic slo-mo’s, and THE most jaw-dropping stunts you’ll ever see! This is only because of the fast-paced and cartoon-ish script by Deadpool writers, Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick. With tongue firmly in cheek at times, this could easily have been another Deadpool or even an X-Force film; it has that same vibe with all the bloody/funny anecdotes thrown in by the cast, especially by Reynolds. It’s simple, archaic, ridiculous, unredeeming in plot or storyline, has plot holes the size of 747’s, but I will say this, it’s a whole lotta stupid fun.
This is a pure ‘popcorn movie’, and nobody make them better than Michael Bay. Reynolds is pretty much doing his ‘Merc with a Mouth’, but without the red suit and twin katana’s. He’s lovable, funny, and is just having a good time collecting another $100M paycheck. The others, as you can see, are having a fun time drafting in Reynold’s wake. While the dialogue won’t win any awards, the action is undeniable, and the fantastic stunts alone are worth your time. **Currently in selected theaters or you can stream it right now on Netflix.