THE FALL GUY review by Mark Walters – Ryan Gosling plays a stunt man who has to save the day… and his film

THE FALL GUY review by Mark Walters – Ryan Gosling plays a stunt man who has to save the day… and his film

I used to watch THE FALL GUY television show when I was a kid, and have very fond memories of it. Lee Majors played a stunt man for the stars who found himself frequently drug into situations where he had to use his stunt skills to save the day. In the new movie THE FALL GUY, Ryan Gosling plays essentially the same character, only this time the story is set while a major blockbuster movie is being made.

Colt Seavers (Gosling) is a respected and successful stunt man working as the frequent double for Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), who is the hottest leading man in Hollywood… think of a mix between Tom Cruise and Matthew McConaughey, only really vapid and dumb. Colt is also in love with an assistant director named Jody (Emily Blunt), and their relationship seems to be blossoming as the movies keep getting made, all while producer Gail (Hannah Waddingham) is trying to keep things running on time and within budget. Sadly, Colt suffers a terrible injury when pushed to do a stunt one too many times, which takes him out of the game, and ruins his relationship. After some time has passed, Gail calls upon Colt to once again double to Tom Ryder in a big budget Sci-Fi sequel, and this time Jody has entered the big leagues and is helming the film as director, though she has no idea Colt is being asked to return. The new movie offers an opportunity for Colt to have a second chance at love and a career, but things get crazy when Tom Ryder disappears, and Gail asks Colt to track him down. Before he knows it, Colt finds himself in the middle of a murder mystery, and must use his stunt prowess to battle the bad guys.

If you’ve seen the trailers for THE FALL GUY, you know exactly what to expect, and it’s pretty much what you see there with little to no surprises… that said, it’s also tremendously fun and entertaining. Director David Leitch (JOHN WICK, BULLET TRAIN) is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with in the big budget Hollywood machine, and his former experience as a stunt man certainly lends itself quite well to the action sequences here. Gosling and Blunt have great chemistry and are fun to watch as the film’s leads, playing well off each other in the romantic moments, and the more intense bits as well. But this is very much Gosling’s movie, and he gets the majority of screen time, thrown into one action sequence after another, and seemingly doing a lot of his own stunt work, though there are some sequences during the credits that pull back the curtain a bit on how they pulled off some of the wilder shots. Waddingham is rather amusing as the annoying producer, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson really excels as the arrogant movie star – he was one of my favorite parts of BULLET TRAIN, and he makes the most of his few scenes here. Winston Duke shows up playing a friend of Colt’s who helps him out on set and off, and is always a welcome face in big movies like this.

The script by Drew Pearce (HOTEL ARTEMIS, IRON MAN 3) really feels like 1980s action fare, even though it revolves around a very modern sort of Hollywood production. It also moves at a brisk pace and keeps things interesting, making the two hour and 6-minute run time never feel overbearing or boring. This film reminds me of the best parts of the action movies I grew up loving, like LETHAL WEAPON, or DIE HARD, or even something like TRUE LIES. It also does a nice job of paying tribute to the men and women who do stunts for movies, and the importance of them to the project, even when (sadly) they’re not the ones getting the glory when it’s all said and done. You could even call this a love letter to stunts in movies, while still being a very entertaining and wild ride of a film. It’s also proof that Gosling is quite good at comedy, and probably should do more movies like this and less ultra-serious roles with hit and miss results.

THE FALL GUY is PG-13, but almost feels like a PG film as I don’t recall much blood at all, and not a lot of cussing either. I loved this movie for what it was and found myself smiling from ear to ear almost the entire time. See it on a big screen with a killer sound system, you won’t regret it. Also make sure to stick around through the credits for a nice tribute to the stunt performers in the movie, and a really terrific stinger scene with a great cameo.

THE FALL GUY hits theater May 3, 2024

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