Five men in the exact same outfit, consisting of big sunglasses, a cowboy hat, and leather jacket, all stand in a row in the desert.

Film Review: The Fall Guy

Film Reviews

The Fall Guy
Director: David Leitch

87North and Entertainment 360
In Theaters: 05.03

No one expected that the most talked about stunt in The Fall Guy would be the casting of Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt in the lead roles. While the pairing of two big Barbenheimer stars wasn’t an intentional gimmick, it gives the movie a big boost and while The Fall Guy is a meant to be a love letter to stunt performers, it also makes a strong case for the importance of having the right stars.

Colt Seavers (Gosling) is a seemingly fearless Hollywood stuntman who regularly doubles for action star works Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor Johnson, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Tenet), and things couldn’t be better for him. He’s working his dream job and just starting an exciting new relationship with a charming camera operator, Jody Moreno (Blunt). When Colt is seriously injured after a stunt goes wrong he falls into depression and self doubt, abandoning his career and shutting Jody out, ruining the relationship.

Eighteen months later, Ryder’s producer, Gail Meyer (Hannah Waddingham, Ted Lasso, Hocus Pocus 2) calls Colt and talks him into getting back in the game on a new sci-fi action blockbuster called Metalstorm, which is being directed by none other than Jody Moreno, and Gail tells Colt that it was Jody who personally requested him. Seizing on the opportunity to fix things between them, Colt joins the production in Sydney, Australia. But when he arrives on set, Colt learns that Jody had no idea he was coming, and that the real reason Gail recruited him is that Tom Ryder has disappeared after getting caught up in some bad business involving drugs and she needs Colt to find the movie star and bring him back before his absence derails the production. Colt reluctantly agrees, not wishing to see Jody lose her big break. The job may be a lot more than Colt bargained for, however, as he quickly find himself tangled up in complex and deadly game of cover ups, lies and murder.

The Fall Guy, which is loosely based on the ‘80s TV series of the same name, isn’t this year’s Barbie or Oppenheimer, and that’s just fine. While the plotting is a bit sketchy, wild action, appealing stars and plenty of laughs make this a thoroughly entertaining romp. The lighthearted screenplay by Drew Pearce (Iron Man 3, Hotel Artemis) is packed full of clever jokes that will appeal greatly to movie buffs, and the film is unapologetically aimed at audiences who have an affinity for the industry without letting itself get self indulgent enough to be off putting to mass audiences. Director David Leitch (Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2, Bullet Train) worked as a stunt man from 1997 to 2015, frequently doubling for Brad Pitt, and this first hand experience brings with it a feeling of authenticity mixed with an informed sense of humor about this unique line of work. 

Gosling is perfect in the lead role, and gives Colt a sense of vulnerability that may be the film’s strongest element. The character could have easily been played with far too much tough guy swagger, and making him as an endearingly sensitive romantic who is driven not just by a desire to get the girl but also a desire to see her succeed at her dreams is quite refreshing. Blunt excels at light comedy, and the movie soars because we believe in these two characters and genuinely care about whether they get together. Taylor-Johnson delivers an amusing send up of pampered and self absorbed movie stars. The standout in the supporting cast, however, is Winston Duke (Black Panther, Nine Days) as Dan Tucker, the stunt coordinator and Colt’s best friend, who constantly inserts movie dialogue into casual conversation. Duke is an MVP in any movie he appears in, and deserves a chance to headline an action film.

The Fall Guy is nothing more or less than a deliciously pleasing summer kick off movie that leans into a sense of escapist fun and delivers spectacular stunts and giggles galore. The Fall Guy comes off without a hitch, with a thumbs up signaling that it’s ready to go again. –Patrick Gibbs

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