Netflix action movie filled with predictable cliches
The pitch: There’s something to be said for a good old-school action movie, with clear good guys and bad guys and a cute kid and no superpowers beyond the hero’s ability to craft a weapon out of anything. Add to that a bunch of movie stars and gorgeous European locations, and by every metric, the almighty algorithm might have at its disposal, a movie like The gray man should be a slam-dunk fun time.
That’s why it’s such a shame to say that Joe and Anthony Russo’s original Netflix movie (it’s the most expensive so far) simply falls flat, despite the best efforts of Ryan Gosling and the rest of the all-star cast. Whereas The gray man does its best to hit all the criteria we look for in conspiracy thrillers like this, it perhaps does it too well, resulting in an end product that’s glib in its storytelling and not as entertaining as it wishes.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: The gray man in the title is known primarily as “Six” (Ryan Gosling), who was recruited out of prison as a young man by CIA officer Donald Fitzroy (Billy Bob Thornton) to work indefinitely doing the kind of dirty work of the US government. will always deny funding. However (I bet you can guess where that next sentence is going to go), when a job goes wrong and dangerous information falls into his possession, Six becomes the target of his own government, along with private contractor/sociopath Lloyd Hansen. (Chris Evans) tasked with tracking him down.
It’s a setup we’ve certainly seen in the past, but while other films have found unique variations on such a premise, The gray man is a pretty relentless series of plot cliches throughout. Romance novels get a lot of bullshit for being predictable in their plot, but you don’t read romance novels for the twists. You want twists, you watch a movie like this… but in the case of this specific movie, all that awaits you is disappointment. There’s an argument to be made that a film as predictable as this almost serves as viewing comfort. But that’s only if you don’t find it frustrating, to accurately predict what’s going to happen moments before it happens.
Disassembled: Joe and Anthony Russo’s careers have been fascinating to follow over the years, like when the brothers started out as Emmy-winning directors of 2000s comedies like Development stopped, happy endingsand Communityyou probably never would have guessed they would jump right into one of the highest-grossing blockbusters of all time.
But it was actually part of their work on Community – perhaps more specifically the two-part paintball extravaganza “For a Few Paintballs More” and “A Fistful of Paintballs” – which led them to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, making them two of the most bankable directors working today after successfully sticking the landing of an eleven-year cinematic arc with Avengers: Endgame.
Not all of the Russos’ MCU action scenes have been universally successful, but you can still generally follow what’s going on. Meanwhile, as exciting theoretically as The gray manThe nine action sets might be, they’re not much fun to watch, due to the effort involved in trying to figure out what’s going on. It shouldn’t be that hard to figure out what’s going on in a car chase or a fistfight, and yet, between the reliance on hyperkinetic drone fire and the inconsistent editing, it’s still hard to tell. even get a basic idea of the geography of each scene.