Hello film fans, and welcome to the House of Macleod’s Movie Review Corner!
Today we examine THE GRAY MAN (15, 2h 2m, 2022) Starring Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Billy Bob Thornton, Jessica Henwick, Dhanush, Alfre Woodard, Regé-Jean Page and Julia Butters.
Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo and based on the 2009 novel of the same name by Mark Greaney. THE GRAY MAN is one of those movies, you know the ones. The kind of film that gets an average Metacritic and rotten tomatoes score but actually turns out to be a nice surprise. That’s what I liked about THE GRAY MAN, it was a nice surprise. The night before I sat down to it, I had asked the Head Geek if he liked it and he said he did. So I thought, I could do with a little action so I turned on Netflix and grabbed my gluten-free garlic and herb crackers. As I said before I was nicely surprised. From the opening sequence in Bangkok, I knew this movie had a little more than the heart. I also know what the Russo’s can do with a little action, but this movie hits the road and doesn’t stop running. I’ve read similarities to its style and pacing to the great John Wick films and that is a 100% fair comparison. The style of action mixed with martial arts really works for the film and it manages to deliver on a few things other movies didn’t. For instance, Ana de Armas is kicking a whole truckload of ass. Don’t get me wrong I loved NO TIME TO DIE but it introduced De Arma’s character “Paloma”, let us get to know her, gave her a big action sequence and then the movie was done with her. De Armas is a terrific actress and can more than handle herself in a fight scene, the Russo brothers obviously realised this and gave her the sheer amount of action she deserves.
It was a little odd seeing Chris Evans playing douchebag mercenary Lloyd Hansen with my god, such a terrible moustache. Evans plays it super douchey. Almost like he is trying to distance himself from Captain America. Fair enough to him, no one likes to be typecast but In my opinion, he overacted and not in a good way like Jim Carrey.
Ryan Gosling plays the titular hero of the story and does so very well. In all fairness, his character doesn’t say much in terms of dialogue but it wasn’t the script that made me like his character “Sierra Six”, it was the story. Six isn’t quite James Bond, he isn’t Ethan Hunt either. His character lands nicely between the two and it suits Gosling perfectly. This is definitely a role I would like to see him play again. There are times that THE GRAY MAN is 1000% unbelievable and goes for the giant action set pieces such as the shootout sequence in Prague. Although fun to watch, it goes a little too far at times, with the mercenaries seemingly pulling RPGs out of nowhere and such. As I said earlier, this movie has a little heart and that can be felt through Billy Bob Thornton's story arch with his daughter, the emotional core and half motivation for the hero. This is very well played out and makes you root for Six and company to save her and the day. Another thing that I liked about this movie was that it was about spies and I knew exactly what was happening all the way throughout the movie. Take films like THE BOURNE SUPREMACY for instance, although great actioners they tend to get mired in their own spy game using far too much lingo and terms that your average viewer may not understand. THE GRAY MAN dispenses with this and delivers a solid espionage thriller without the annoying spy language that very few of us can actually speak. Regé-Jean Page is great as rising star CIA official Denny Carmichael and plays the role with just the right amount of nervous sleaze you’d expect from someone in his position. I can see why his name is being considered for James Bond, he has the right type of cool required and he shows it off with aplomb while Jessica Henwick really gets to grips with her role as Suzanne Brewer, Carmichael’s right hand, who is slowly losing control of the increasingly unstable and dangerous Hansen. All in all, I'm happy that I sat down with THE GRAY MAN and I think you might be too.
If it's action you are after with a decent story, then THE GRAY MAN is for you. Sit back, crank up the Netflix and enjoy the show.
Worth watching, despite what the critics say - 8/10
Netflix is reportedly commissioning a sequel and a spinoff to THE GRAY MAN with the Russo brothers set to sit in the director's chairs again while Ryan Gosling will return for more adventures as the famed “Sierra Six”. Netflix reports that the Russo’s will also produce the sequel through their AGBO production company, while the script will be handled solo by returnee Stephen McFeeley. Few details are known regarding the spin-off however it's said to be a HARD-R and will be scripted by DEADPOOL and ZOMBIELAND writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese.