Ryan Gosling & Chris Evans- What could go wrong?
Oh, Ryan Gosling. From The Mickey Mouse Club, to Remember the Titans, to Blue Valentine, and of course, we cannot forget The Notebook, you can do anything and I think regardless of whether someone is a true fan, for the most part, we all know you make solid movies. So why did I walk away feeling a little unfulfilled after finishing The Gray Man? Well, let’s get into it.
The Gray Man depicts Sierra Six, an assassin recruited by the CIA to do their dirty work. In the opening scene, Six sits across from Fitzroy played by none other than Billy Bob Thornton, who gives Six the choice of getting out of jail to do the government’s bidding. Fast forward 18 years later and you find yourself watching Six on an ordered mission to do what you know he’s been doing all that time, killing.
Right away you see that this character is going to have a bit of a conscious when it comes to children. You don’t have much back story but you know he won’t injure or put kids in harm’s way. You also quickly find out that the person he has been ordered to murder has information on how Six’s boss is dirty. Six takes the evidence and quickly has to decide how he wants to handle this newfound information. All the while, another assassin Lloyd Hansen played by Chris Evans, tries to murder Six and obtain said evidence.
Over the next hour and forty-five minutes, you find yourself in a cross between a Jason Bourne movie and one of the later versions of the Fast and the Furious franchise. Does Gosling deliver? He does. Nothing is lacking from his delivery of the dialogue, the execution of stunts, and even his character’s morality. What’s better I think is that Chris Evans rivals him in terms of stealing the show as an extremely entertaining villain. Both acted their parts perfectly, I would say, so why was I let down? I think it comes down to two things: action & predicability.
Maybe I just miss the old days when editors and directors didn’t have to rely on flashing lights, smoke, panning cameras, and flipping the scene upside down to create a good action scene. If you have seen some of the later Fast and Furious movies you know that the car chases, plane crashes, and train scenes all get more and more absurd as time goes on. At some point, you stop being able to feel nervous for the characters when the action is so far-fetched because you know they will live. Where The Gray Man went wrong for me is that it relied too heavily on camera tricks, green screen edits, and pure predictability.
I did like that they tried to build Six’s back story showing some flashbacks of other interactions with characters such as Fitzroy’s niece, Claire, played by Julia Butters. Six’s mission ends up being more revolved around protecting Fitzroy and Claire than it does in exposing the crimes of the CIA. The further along he gets in trying to save them, as well as himself, the more predictable the movie becomes. Bottom line: is it worth the two hours it takes to finish the movie?
No, it’s not. Netflix should have cut some unnecessary fight scenes and edited the movie to around 1 hour and 30 minutes so that you could easily commit. But at 2 hours, this isn’t a movie that I would say you have to carve out time for. It is certainly not a movie I think that would be worth a replay either. Next time I’ll stick with John Wick or Jason Bourne but I am sure we will see Gosling and Evans again soon, probably in a sequel. Let me know your thoughts on my Instagram @tell.me.what.you.really.think.