Star Cast: Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Dhanush, Ana de Armas, Jessica Henwick, Regé-Jean Page, and ensemble.
Director: Joe Russo & Anthony Russo (The Russo Brothers)
What’s Good: Chris Evans is a fireball & Ana de Armas is a Goddess. Also, these have to be the best introduction sequences I have seen in a very long time. Did I mention Ryan Gosling’s charm?
What’s Bad: How cliché everything gets and the product as a whole fails to live up to the amazing introductions.
Loo Break: Not in the first half, but when the movie sets out on a world tour and some of which is highly avoidable, go on, that’s your cue.
Watch or Not?: Only for Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Ryan Gosling, and Dhanush, I mean the acting talent. The collective action and the efforts to make it looks so thrilling.
Language: English (with subtitles).
Available On: Netflix.
Runtime: 122 Minutes
So The Gray Man is a troop of ghost assassins who were once prisoned criminals of high order trained by the government to carry out tasks that cannot be done by the law. When one of the said Gray Man Six (Ryan) realises he has been used, he decides to decode the entire game and that is where the hunt and chase begins.
The Gray Man Movie Review: Script Analysis
Russo Brothers have created an USP for themselves. The two find thrill in creating stories where a villain doesn’t necessarily exist beforehand, but is born out of circumstances that appear maybe in the story while the film is happening. Like Captain America: Civil War, no one was a villain, people were fighting to safeguard their ideology. Or take the Endgame/Infinity Saga, Thanos never had a selfish greed to fill his bank, but his idea was to make the world a better place as per his ideology.
Even Extraction had the dilemma in some characters, and that is how they shape their stories. There is no complete black or white but an ample grey and they love playing in that zone. Making people who were once friends fight each other and put them in situation where they are left with no choice. The Gray Man is another addition where the story turns upside down and a man is pitched against people he once called friends.
Now screenplay by Joe, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, adapted from Mark Greaney’s book, the movie begins spectacularly. For example the introductions. Every pivotal character is introduced with such panache that the hype reaches notches higher for what is about to follow. I am not kidding. These could be some of the best introduction scenes in the longest time.
But what follows is a streak of clichés that we are done watching in films over the past few years. When you pitch one man against an entire system, the audience is now clever enough to see through your film if it is a product that resembles the last few films they have seen. Like it isn’t a master’s job to predict what’s about to happen when a man who is clever is trapped in a situation where death lurks on the other side. You either have to give him a surprising twist or maybe give him a never seen before escape plan. But Russos resort to things that are already done. Like you can see from the very beginning that the CIA is the villain.
Add to this the number of places this film travels. In just 2 hours including the credit roll. The film travels through Bangkok, Azerbaijan, Monaco, Chiang Mai, Turkey, London, Vienna, Berlin, Croatia, Prague, Washington DC, and Virginia. Won’t be surprised if I missed some places. It looks like they travelled to every place that possibly gave them a visa.
Apart from an exciting showdown that takes place on a street and in a train and one between Dhanush and Ryan Gosling with Ana de Armas, no other trajectory that leads to action looks fresh. But how the hell are super trained officers in a ruthless organisation not able to fire even a single bullet in the right direction? At one point Gosling is right in the centre of a spot with raining bullets and none hit him, only to be stabbed by a perfect Dhanush in a single attempt!
The Gray Man Movie Review: Star Performance
Ryan Gosling is a brilliant charmer. He doesn’t have to do much to light up the screen other than his cunning smile. The actor adds to this some arrogance and makes Six his own. Though the script only binds him to escaping from one trap to another without letting his psyche taking the centre stage, he does a great job.
Chris Evans is the winner here as he plays yet another baddie with conviction after the brilliant Knives Out! Now hear me out, I know this is the most absurd, over the top and high on ‘something’ villain who is bloodthirsty and ruthless. But look at how the actor sells it and makes sure you buy it without complaining. The super fitted clothes with no space for air, a velvet pair of shoes with no socks, a weird moustache, but somehow makes it something you would dread and not laugh at. That’s what must be appreciated.
Also, Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans get into a hand to hand combat because what was even the purpose of the movie if not this showdown. But even after predicting it in the first 10 minutes, I was hooked to it when it happened 2 hours later.
Ana de Armas is a Goddess and boy! she knows how to punch and act at the same time so well. In some action scenes she even over powers the men and more of her on the big screen please.
Dhanush is representing us a big time. He isn’t written like yet another Asian in a Hollywood high budget movie. There are layers to his character and he has the power to change things in the storyline. Even he gets some action sequence and they are good. The actor will have a much bigger part if there is a part 2. And I hope there is a good shift there.
Regé-Jean Page gets to play the bad boss who only knows blaming juniors and putting their lives at risk for his mistakes. And he does it well.
The Gray Man Movie Review: Direction, Music
The Russo Brothers know how to set the bar higher in directing action every single time. Remember the action sequence between Chris Hemsworth and Randeep Hooda in Extraction where it looked like a video game and was actually shot with them enacting it and not using CGI? Well, there are many exciting ones here too.
But as directors they forget to zoom their vision on emotions when there is ample amount of action taking place. Like if 80 Percent of your movie is action, there has to be a balance. There are characters who have arcs that might create a lot of drama, but we are never given time to process their internal battles because everyone on the screen is constant running.
Music and cinematography are two strong things in her and deserve the credit. The logistics team must have had a nightmare though. They might have had multiple world tours in the same project.
The Gray Man Movie Review: The Last Word
If there is one good, one bad cancels it immediately in this maths equation kind of a film. While everything separately is at its best form, the screenplay fails to blend it all in a nuanced product.
The Gray Man Trailer
The Gray Man releases on 22 July, 2022.
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