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The Fall Guy Review

May 3, 2024 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
THE FALL GUY Image Credit: Universal Pictures
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The Fall Guy Review  

Directed By: David Leitch
Written By: Drew Pearce
Runtime: 125 minutes
MPA Rating: Rated PG-13 for action and violence, drug content and some strong language.

Ryan Gosling – Colt Seavers
Emily Blunt – Jody Moreno
Aaron Taylor-Johnson – Tom Ryder
Hannah Waddingham – Gail Meyer
Winston Duke – Dan Tucker
Stephanie Hsu – Alma Milan
Ben Knight – Dressler
Matuse – Doone
Adam Dunn – Nigel
Zara Michales – Venti Kushner
Teresa Palmer – Iggy Starr

Filmmaker David Leitch reinvents the 1980s television series The Fall Guy with a heftier focus on the stuntman and moviemaking aspect. The original television series followed the adventures of Colt Seavers, a Hollywood stuntman who moonlights part-time as a bounty hunter. Leitch’s version jettisons the bounty hunter aspect, and instead opts to focus on the “Unknown Stuntman” Colt Seavers (Gosling) getting involved in a real-life crisis and murder mystery while attempting to reconcile his ex-girlfriend, Jody Moreno (Blunt). Thanks to Leitch’s slick direction and excellent chemistry between Gosling and Blunt, Leitch and his 87North team craft a blisteringly entertaining feel-good reboot of a classic television series. The Fall Guy works exceedingly well as an entertaining action comedy and a film that celebrates unsung stunt performers and below-the-line workers who make the entertainment industry possible.

The story begins with Colt Seavers as the veteran stunt performer for one of Hollywood’s hottest movie stars, Tom Ryder (Taylor-Johnson). Life is good, as Colt has a job that he loves and a burgeoning relationship with camera operator Jody. Unfortunately for Colt, a severe accident on set leaves him broken more spiritually and mentally than physically, and he disappears into obscurity, cutting off contact with everyone, including Jody. Over a year later, Colt gets called back into action by the shady Hollywood producer Gail Meyer (Waddingham). Gail desperately needs Seavers to double for Tom Ryder again on Tom’s next upcoming blockbuster, Metal Storm. Colt is reluctant to jump back into the fire but agrees after learning that Jody is directing the picture in her big career break.

Colt jets off to Australia under the impression that Jody asked for him to work on the picture, not realizing that Gail brought him to Australia under false pretenses. Tom Ryder has gone missing, and she charges Colt with the task of locating the production’s big star. Otherwise, the studio will shut Metal Storm down, and Jody’s career will be ruined. It now falls on Colt to use his skills and knowledge as a stuntman to save the day, but as he follows Tom’s trail, things only get worse, putting Colt’s livelihood and hopes of reconciling with Jody in serious jeopardy.

Thanks to the sizzling chemistry between Gosling and Blunt, their onscreen dynamic elevates what is already a fun action flick. The two exhibit a fun rapport that even the most cynical viewers will enjoy. Leitch’s direction, which features fun homages to classic rom-coms, Drew Pearce’s tight scripting, and the actors’ compelling chemistry create a winning combination. It’s nice to have such a likable, charming romantic pairing onscreen again. More often than not, blockbusters and action movies tend to shy away from romance-centric plots, so the Colt and Jody relationship is refreshingly sweet in a good way.

In addition to a strong sense of momentum and pacing, Leitch infuses the film with a nostalgically appealing throwback style to 1980s and 1990s action comedies of yore. The Fall Guy brings back a style of film that went out of fashion in the last 15 years and probably never should have left in the first place.

Gosling significantly reinvents the Colt Seavers character for his cinematic take, but his unique brand of charm and charisma works well for the character. Gosling’s Colt is sensitive, cries while listening to Taylor Swift, and he’s remarkably in touch with his feelings. His performance flips the typical male action-hero dynamic, which works since it’s a refreshing change. That style works for Gosling’s version of an action hero, and he plays it well.
While Leitch increases the moviemaking and stuntman aspect of the narrative, his own background as a stunt artist brings a nice layer of authenticity to the action scenes. The film includes several sequences involving elaborate movie stunts, which are creatively incorporated throughout the plot. The recognition for stunt work and artists is obviously a subject close to the director’s background, and that personal touch shows from Leitch.

The final act is where the movie’s plot grows too wild. Leitch is not one for restraint in his final act, and that’s fine, but it essentially puts three big climactic action pieces together. None of the action fails to excite, and Leitch maintains a tight grasp of his lead characters and their development during the action scenes, but the third scene becomes overly excessive. That said, Gosling and Blunt provide copious fun character moments and beats throughout the climactic finish.

Elsewhere in the cast, Waddingham is tremendous as Gail Meyer, a longtime movie producer who brings Colt to her production under ulterior motives. Taylor-Johnson brings impressive believability as the opulent and unlikable movie star Tom Ryder. He’s the perfect counterpart to Gosling’s blue-collar, down-to-earth Colt Seavers. The sequences involving Metal Storm, the fictional movie-within-the-movie, bring raucous laughs. The Metal Storm scenes look like a mix of a Zack Snyder dream project mixed with Mad Max: Fury Road, and they’re all incredibly amusing.

The Fall Guy brings back a sensational action comedy style with a great cast and a lovable pair of romantic leads that makes the audience feel good about watching movies again and not regretting the experience later.

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
The Fall Guy delivers great action-comedy fun. Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt provide excellent chemistry as romantic leads, and Gosling nails the role, bringing his unique, understated charm to the unwitting stuntman-turned-action hero, Colt Seavers. Leitch succeeds in presenting The Fall Guy as a glorious celebration of the "Unknown Stuntman," as well as action comedies of a bygone era. It's a fun, wholesome action-comedy without any of the annoying indigestion that sometimes comes later after viewing more ostentatious entries in the genre.