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Review: The Fall Guy (2024)

The Fall Guy (2024)

Directed by: David Leitch

Premise: The star of a big budget Hollywood action film has gone missing. His stunt man (Ryan Gosling) is assigned to locate the actor and discovers a criminal conspiracy.

What Works: The Fall Guy is partly a mystery and partly an action picture but it is also the tale of a guy trying to find his way back to the woman he loves. The stuntman used to be in a relationship with the film’s director but he ghosted her following an onset stunt accident. The love story is the strongest aspect of The Fall Guy and that is largely due to the casting of Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt. They have an easy and likable romantic chemistry; we want to see these two get together. The whole film has an agreeably light tough. It’s very funny, which is largely due to Gosling and Blunt, and a classic rock-informed soundtrack that keeps things upbeat. The action set pieces are exciting and include some physical comedy. The Fall Guy also possesses an interesting mix of affection for cinema and a knowing derision for the largess of Hollywood tentpole moviemaking. The Fall Guy is full of references to other action movies in a way that suggests love for the genre but also an awareness of the behind-the-scenes politics inherent to making a studio film of this scale.

What Doesn’t: The Fall Guy becomes the kind of bloated Hollywood show that it intends to satirize. The film is too long. The storytelling is inefficient and the pacing is off. There are a number of redundant scenes between Gosling and Blunt’s characters, especially in the first half. The movie takes too long to reveal that the production’s lead actor is missing and the story lacks urgency or escalation. The filmmakers don’t know when to quit and the ending is dragged out with multiple climaxes. The two parts of the story are largely divorced from each other. The mystery is independent of the love story. The two parts don’t intersect nor do they inform or complicate each other. Part of the problem is the film-with-the-film. The movie the characters are making is a big budget Hollywood remake of the 1983 sci-fi picture Metalstorm. At the same time, this is supposed to be the director’s passion project and her big break. There’s nothing personal about the movie they are making; it’s just a Hollywood widget which undermines the dramatic stakes. It also looks like a terrible movie.

Bottom Line: The Fall Guy is a likable mix of action, mystery, and romance. It’s also frustrating because there is some great stuff in it that is partly buried by a lot of Hollywood excess. 

Episode: #996 (May 12, 2024)