Friday, May 24, 2024

The Fall Guy Review

The Fall Guy just hit CinemaCon for a victory lap after premiering at SXSW. Does it live up to the hype and give Ryan Gosling a clasic role?

PLOT: After being gravely injured, a stuntman named Colt Seavers (Ryan Gosling) tries to win back his ex, a movie director named Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt), by finding the star of her mega-budget action movie, who’s gone missing after falling in with a dangerous crowd.

REVIEW: The Fall Guy is director David Leitch’s love letter to the stunt profession. For those not in the know, Leitch, before becoming a director known for blockbusters like Bullet Train and Deadpool 2, was a stuntman, having worked on a slew of action classics. With this, he pays homage to an industry that was best described recently by Nicolas Cage, who said in an interview, “Every movie star needs to be a stunt man, every stunt man needs to be a movie star.”

Of course, it’s also a big-budget remake of a classic TV show, which ran for many years and starred the Six Million Dollar Man himself, Lee Majors, as a stuntman who moonlit as a P.I. He even sang the theme song, which is warbled here by Blake Shelton. The buzz on this one has been through the roof, with raves coming out of SXSW and none other than Steven Spielberg saying he loved it. As such, it arrives at CinemaCon making a bit of a victory lap for exhibitors, who are no doubt hoping some of the Barbenheimer magic rubs off on it as it unites two of the stars from those movies. So, is it worth all the anticipation and hype?

Indeed, The Fall Guy is an impeccably made comedic actioner elevated by superb chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt. Gosling has fun playing the nearly-indestructible Colt, who is trying to get back on his ex’s good side after ghosting her due to his insecurity over nearly being crippled in an accident. If the film has a failing in that regard, it’s that Colt’s recovery from his broken back is so complete that he’s jumping from building to building with ease, doing flips, crashes and hits without any limitations whatsoever. Alas, it’s a movie, and it has to be said that Leitch and his crew at 87North have put together some amazing set pieces. 

The action highlight of the film is an amazing sequence where Gosling fights a bad guy on the back of a truck while being dragged, all of which is scored by Phil Collins’ ‘Against All Odds’, juxtaposed with the heartbroken Blunt singing it when she thinks she’s been stood up for a date. The plot is pretty good, with Seavers being turned into a quasi-gunshoe by an untrustworthy producer (played by Ted Lassos Hannah Waddingham), who wants him to find Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s movie star, Tom Ryder. Ryder seems informed by perhaps all the stunt people involved with this worst idea of a stuntman, being one who takes all the credit by none of the risk – a sort of anti-Tom Cruise. 

The premise is basically an excuse for nonstop action, but it works well and aligns with the kind of plots Lee Majors’s Colt Seavers used to get embroiled in. Notably, the film is also very much a romance, with Colt and Jody’s relationship at least as important as the carnage and mystery, which is refreshing given how unromantic most modern action movies are. With the old-school action, minimal CGI, and real-deal stunts, this feels like a throwback to nineties action in the best way.

Through it all, Gosling and Blunt show themselves as real deal movie stars, with the charisma on both cranked up to eleven. Colt Seavers is a fun enough character that it could turn into a franchise for Gosling. He is portrayed as clever, uncomplicatedly heroic, and more than able to handle himself in a fight or two dozen.

If I have any complaints, it’s that the bar for the action keeps getting set so high that, as the film comes to its conclusion, you almost start to get numb to it, as it’s almost exhausting to keep up with. But, running just over two hours, The Fall Guy never wears out its welcome and looks bright and beautiful, with colourful locations in Sydney and a polished, slick look.

The Fall Guy really is a terrific summer action movie and a throwback to a different (better) time in genre movie-making. More than anything, it’s a tribute to the stunt industry and a demand that it gets the recognition it deserves, with the point made over and over that CGI action is lame and can’t hold a candle to the old ways. I’m inclined to agree.

Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/the-fall-guy-review/

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