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‘The Gray Man’ is a run-of-the-mill action film with formulaic distractions

‘The Gray Man’ is a run-of-the-mill action film with formulaic distractions

‘The Gray Man’ is a run-of-the-mill action film with formulaic distractions
July 23
12:00 2022

After directing two of the most successful films of all time, Anthony and Joe Russo have linked with Netflix to tell their newest action-packed story. “The Gray Man” is chock-full of over-the-top action. However, you can’t help noticing its ability to hit the same beats as other beloved films of the genre.

There are tremendous parts of the film revolving around the lead actors’ performances. A bloated run time and lack of story, with said story mainly just being guys with guns, may keep viewers away. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it, but don’t expect it to elevate the way audiences see action films either.

In a classic game of cat and mouse, animals are replaced with Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans. Gosling’s character Six is on the run after disobeying orders from the CIA. When it becomes impossible to apprehend Six, Evans’ character Lloyd Hansen is sent to end the madness by any means necessary. As one can imagine, nothing but pure chaos ensues once the ball gets rolling. 

Action movies aren’t known for their character work, which is a good thing in the case of this film. If it wasn’t for the credits after the movie, remembering the names of these characters would be harder than a math trivia night. There is nothing presented to make audiences connect with or care about these characters. 

Gosling and Evans are the two standouts. Gosling’s character is cold and gives the same reaction to everything that happens throughout the film. Evans is certainly not the shield-wielding captain many know him as in this film. He is completely unhinged and his outlandish behavior does not match the movie’s tone at all.

Speaking of tone, this would have been a great opportunity for the Russo brothers to show how campy they can get. With a villain as disturbing as Evans’ and a protagonist as indestructible as Six, there was a wide-open window to make this one of the wackiest action films ever made. It becomes so unbalanced at times that it is hard to tell what the movie is going for.

Six survives through so many near-death experiences that it is enough to have Michael Myers asking for another pair of coveralls. Everything grounded in realism was completely disregarded for this film. What viewers get is typical and reliable action movie stuff, but it doesn’t try anything new to separate itself from the rest. 

It isn’t all bad. While they may be impossible to keep up with at times, the action sequences are a lot of fun. Everyone involved worked really hard to put this film together.

In comparison to recent blockbusters, at least “The Gray Man” looks like an actual movie. There is a nightclub scene at the beginning of the film that plays with colored lighting and it was easily the best part of the whole film.

There are some stylistic choices to be a fan of. The impressive drone work could have been annoying after a while but it was always inserted in the right place. The Russo brothers love blasting location names in bold white letters in the middle of the screen when the scenery switches. It became comical after a while, adding more to the argument that this film should have been an absolute camp fest.

“The Gray Man” may not be the freshest action movie but it certainly stays true to the reliable action films before it. With equal parts good and bad, it all comes down to what you want out of an action movie. At the end of the day, it was harmless and passable. At least three or four action movies just like this one come out every year, and they all mush together into one gray mess.

Pop culture fans will also be happy to hear about the very on-the-nose reference to Gosling’s role as Ken in the upcoming “Barbie” film. A reference to “Barbie” being the most entertaining part of this film sums up everything you need to know going in.

Jaden’s Rating: 3/5

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Jaden Oberkrom

Jaden Oberkrom

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