The Fall Guy Review | Great Action, Minimal Substance

Stunt men and women are rarely recognized in Hollywood, yet they do most of the heavy lifting for the biggest movie stars in the world. The Fall Guy, the latest film from director David Leitch (Bullet Train, Deadpool 2) is a love letter to the stunt people who risk their lives to make movies more enjoyable. There are plenty of over the top stunt sequences, but the film is a little light in substance.

The Fall Guy is loosely based on the TV series of the same name that aired back in the 1980s. Colt Seavers (Ryan Gosling) is one of the best stuntmen in Hollywood, working as a stunt double for Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), who is effectively an exaggerated version of Tom Cruise. Colt is in love with camera woman turned director, Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt), and must save her movie when things start to go off the rails.

As you might expect, Gosling steals every scene he’s in. This is a great follow-up to his portrayal of Ken in the Barbie movie. Gosling is clearly channeling some of that Ken magic in his role as Colt Seavers. Likewise, Aaron Taylor-Johnson is having a great time chewing up the scenery as the main antagonist in the film, with Ryder’s agent/producer, Gail Meyer (Hannah Waddingham) right beside him.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Emily Blunt, ryan gosling, The Fall Guy, Winston Duke

The cast puts on a show, and the stunts are certainly a sight to see, but as entertaining as some scenes in The Fall Guy are, it’s missing substance. Coming out of the theater, there are a number of scenes to reminisce about, but the movie is quickly forgotten by the time you get home. There are never really any stakes to be had, and the ridiculous nature of the plot calls back to Tropic Thunder and similar films. The difference is that Tropic Thunder felt like there was something tangible at stake, something that is lacking from The Fall Guy.

Some of the issues can likely be traced back to the writing team of Drew Pearce and Glen A. Larson. When you’re relying on the writers of Iron Man 3, Hobbs & Shaw, and the failed Caprica and Knight Rider series, you start to see a trend. There are some gems among the filmography of the writers, but they come in long-form series content that had large writers rooms, such as Battlestar Galactica, or the revival of Magnum P.I. When limited to two hours, without a writers room to fall back on, you get a film that lacks substance.

At one point in The Fall Guy, there’s an elaborate chase scene that rivals stunts in the Mission: Impossible films. However, from a plot point of view, the scene feels out of place. Almost as though it was thrown in just to be cool, with no real impact on the plot. Seavers is tasked with saving someone who the audience has only just met moments before, and who isn’t impactful to the rest of the movie.

It’s the disconnect of these action sequences that holds the movie back from greatness. Not every action scene is like this, but it’s a constant theme that prevents the film from reaching the heights of similar films like Tropic Thunder. There are plenty of memorable and entertaining moments in The Fall Guy, certainly enough to warrant a trip to the local cineplex, but it doesn’t add up to anything more than an above average film. Luckily, that should be enough for many moviegoers, and there’s a great foundation here for something bigger and better in the future.

About The Fall Guy

Synopsis: A down-and-out stuntman must find the missing star of his ex-girlfriend’s blockbuster film.

Director: David Leitch

Writers: Drew Pearce, Glen A. Larson

Stars: Ryan Gosling, Emily Blunt, Aaron-Taylor Johnson, Hannah Waddingham, Winston Duke

Rated: PG-13

Runtime: 2 Hours, 6 Minutes

Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Emily Blunt, ryan gosling, The Fall Guy, Winston Duke

Bryan Dawson has been writing professionally since the age of 13. He started his career as a video game writer and has since worked for Random House, Prima Games, DirecTV, IGN, AOL, the British Government, and various other organizations. For GNN, Bryan taps into his passion for movies.

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