The Stream: A plot that is little more than a cat-and-mouse game.
The Big Screen: Beautiful scenery and relentless action sequences.
The Final Bill: Propulsive action and incredible shots add thrills to this blockbuster flick with an otherwise basic plot.–
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writers: Joe Russo, Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Billy Bob Thornton, Regé-Jean Page
Genre: Action, Thriller
Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of strong violence, and strong language
Runtime: 1 hour 55 minutes
Production Companies: AGBO, Netflix, Roth Films
Platform: Netflix on July 22, 2022
Notable Trailers: Day Shift, Wedding Season, Me Time
Maybe you’ve seen all of the blockbusters available at the theaters already, Streamers, and you’re looking for an action flick to catch your eye. Well, a new release on Netflix, The Gray Man, may be just your speed. It’s a loud, action blockbuster that’s available as you sit on your own couch! Who doesn’t want that? Here’s how it goes.
The Gray Man, directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, is an action/thriller about a CIA asset, Sierra Six (Ryan Gosling), who finds out some dark secrets about the man in charge of his mission, and has to go on the run from a maniacal former CIA agent, Lloyd Hansen (Chris Evans), who’s been dispatched to execute him. Hopping from city to city, trying to stay alive and hold on to the evidence that will take down the man attempting to kill him, Six shoots, runs, kicks butt until he can’t anymore. High octane action hijinks ensue.
Whoa! The Gray Man will leave you breathless.
Okay, I will just get it out of the way that this movie doesn’t really do anything new to the action genre. Yes, the basic plot is one good CIA-adjacent dude running from another bad CIA-adjacent dude. Will the good guy get away and survive and kill the bad guy? You can guess how it turns out. Now, all of the extra stuff around that basic plot is what makes this movie worthwhile.
The scenery is so beautiful. I don’t know if they shot in all of the cities mentioned in the movie, but they all look great. Do you want to go to Prague? This movie makes it look wonderful. Do you want to see Croatia? Sure, it looks great too. The Russos use the camera to fly all around the cities capturing not only the great sights but also all of the smash, bang and shoot outs along the way. The action sequences are amazing. If you like seeing things destroyed in these movies, then The Gray Man will check your boxes. Prague is a beautiful city, but it gets beat up in this movie. The shoot outs are relentless. The action just keeps going and going and there seems to be no down time at all. Just a quick bit for a little character development, then back off to the races.
(The effects are good, except for the de-aging they use on Billy Bob Thornton. It weird to see something so uncanny and out of place. De-aging technology has to get better if movies are going to continue to use it.)
Lastly, I’ll note that Chris Evans is having an amazing time being the villain here. He’s being menacing in a charming way. He’s way more over-the-top here than he was in Knives Out. He understood the assignment. Ryan Gosling plays his character very coolly. He gets to be action-hero and does a great job at it. Some of the feats this guy does are unbelievable, which fits quite nicely in the film as a whole. Evans and Gosling only have a few scenes together and they are great.
Ultimately, The Gray Man is an action thriller that gives you exactly what you want action and thrills. There are explosions and shoot outs galore. There’s big screen villainous acting by Chris Evans and stoic and steadfast heroism by Ryan Gosling. Even though the plot is pretty basic, the relentless pace of it all grabs you and doesn’t let go. It worthy of a big box of popcorn for a fun night at the movies on Netflix.