'6 Underground' star Ben Hardy responds to mixed reviews: 'Michael Bay is a Marmite filmmaker'

Tom Butler
Senior Editor

6 Underground, the new film from action auteur Michael Bay, landed on Netflix last week where it became an instant hit on the streaming service.

Starring Ryan Reynolds as the billionaire leader of an underground vigilante team, the bombastic blockbuster from the Transformers and Bad Boys director has remained in the service’s Top 10 most watched where we suspect it will remain for most of the Christmas period.

However, as is often the case with Bay’s movies, there’s been a divide in opinions between film critics and casual punters (34% approval from critics versus 65% from audiences on Rotten Tomatoes).

Actor Ben Hardy, who plays free-running cat burglar Four in he film, says this isn’t unusual for Bay.

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“Michael [Bay’s] films have never been critically praised,” Hardy tells Yahoo about the divisive response to the film.

“He’s kind of a love/hate... he’s definitely a Marmite situation really. But I love his movies. Not to take away from the critics, I think it’s important to hear what they have to say, but at the same time, necessarily, they’re not the be-all and end-all of what makes a great movie.

"6 UNDERGROUND" (2019) - Pictured: Ben Hardy

“It’s obviously completely subjective. I like this movie, I’ve watched it, I think it’s a fun movie, and I hope other people feel the same way.”

After making his debut with Bad Boys in 1995, Bay has directed 14 feature films in all, and only one of those – 1996’s The Rock – was well-received by critics. However, his crowd-pleasing films have made serious bank at the box office ($6.443 billion in total), making him the fourth-highest grossing director ever behind Peter Jackson, the Russo brothers, and Steven Spielberg.

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Former EastEnders star Hardy is no stranger to being on the receiving end of mixed reviews though. He also starred as Queen drummer Roger Taylor in Bryan Singer’s divisive Bohemian Rhapsody. That film enjoyed a lukewarm reception from critics, but went on to be nominated for a Best Picture at the 2019 Oscars, where it won a total of four Academy Awards.

"6 UNDERGROUND" (2019) - Pictured: Corey Hawkins, Adria Arjona, Ben Hardy, Ryan Reynolds, Melanie Laurent, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo (Photo Courtesy of Netflix)

“Queen were always the people’s band, and Bohemian Rhapsody was the people’s movie,” Hardy shares.

“Queen were always slated by the critics, and Bohemian Rhapsody was slated by the critics, but it went on to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, so it’s interesting.”

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 10: Michael Bay attends Netflix's "6 Underground" New York Premiere at The Shed on December 10, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Mendez/WireImage)

It seems unlikely that 6 Underground will be part of the awards season conversation (Netflix has that corner already tied up with Marriage Story and The Irishman), but should it be a hit on the platform, we can expect more Netflix to make more adventures featuring the mercenary team.

Hardy says he’s signed up for multiple films (6 Underground 2? 7 Underground?) as has “most” of the rest of the cast which also includes Mélanie Laurent, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Adria Arjona, and Corey Hawkins, but it all depends on how it performs with audiences.

“I would like to explore more,” Hardy adds, “I have done television before, but every time I play a part in a film, I think about what else is left on the table, what else wasn’t explored, what i’d like to go back and explore, so I hope [a sequel] happens.”

6 Underground is streaming on Netflix now.