Title – The Gray Man (2022)
Directors – Anthony & Joe Russo (Avengers: Infinity War)
Cast – Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Billy Bob Thornton, Regé-Jean Page
Plot – Deadly CIA operative Six (Gosling) finds himself fighting for his life after a mission gone wrong, with the psychotic Lloyd Hanson (Evans) tasked with tracking Six down via any means necessary.
“You make a lot of noise”
Review by Eddie on 26/07/2022
I’ve seen a lot worse movies than the Netflix’s high profile The Gray Man so far in 2022, a large portion of those coming from Netflix also, but there’s little point in trying to deny or fight the fact that for the title boasting the largest Netflix original budget yet in excess of a $200 million dollar production budget and with a talented cast and directors on board, The Gray Man is a mid-tier affair that fails to be anything more than a mild action distraction.
Following up their Apple exclusive misfire Cherry, Avenger’s champions Anthony and Joe Russo get gifted the keys to the kingdom once more to enact a globe spanning action thriller of epic proportions, one that follows Ryan Gosling’s typically stoic CIA operative Six who finds himself in a battle of life and death against shady government figures that have enlisted the help of Chris Evan’s bloodthirsty mad man Lloyd Hanson to track down Six via any means necessary.
Allowed to run wild with set pieces that take place in the neon soaked surrounds of Bangkok, the bullet strewn streets of various European cities and even to Hong Kong via an odd babysitting detour, the Russo’s throw everything plus various kitchen sinks into the relentless comings and goings of The Gray Man but no matter the spectacle and star power, there’s no overcoming the fact that the central story holding everything together here and the cast who have all been better elsewhere aren’t able to make this expensive exercise feel like some type of prestigious action offering that is going to see Netflix memberships take a spike in the right direction.
There are some undeniably impressive sequences here, a Heat-esque shootout and an opening assassination attempt are top-tier action segments are moments that spring to mind but The Gray Man also fails too ignite elsewhere, with constant drone shots, an over reliance on shaky cam and some bizarrely designed sequences like a CGI blur-fest on a crashing plane all letting the film down and while the cast here is no doubt having some fun (who wouldn’t be with the large pay cheques they likely cashed in thanks to the Netflix coffers?), no one really stands out, with Gosling, Ana de Armas and Billy Bob Thornton getting by on the bare-minimum of enthusiasm with Evans left to ham it up in another villainous role that reminds you there’s more to Captain America than meets the eye.
It’s hard to imagine that Netflix will feel as though this end product was worth all the time, effort and promotion they invested into it, in a time and place where the streaming giant is fighting off a wave of negative press and some huge failures, The Gray Man needed to do more than merely arrive and be watchable, it needed to be something special and despite the talent involved, that’s something it most certainly is not.
Final Say –
There’s careless and forgettable fun to be had from The Gray Man, an action thriller that never feels like it isn’t borrowing parts from better films and stories, marking itself down as a better than average Netflix exclusive, all the while remaining very far away from the runaway hit the streamer would’ve been hoping for.
3 fingernails out of 5