The Gray Man (2022)

Ryan Gosling is one of those actors. Most people love him, a small portion think of him as stony faced and boring. I’m in the former category. Chris Evans. Most people love him. I don’t think there is a second group. The Russo directors are given a f**king massive budget (for a Netflix film) and so they get both the above superstars plus a couple hundred thousand to spend on immense explosions and car chases. The dialogue is punchy and often funny. But the plot was lost somewhere in the CIA archives, probably nestled next to the Ark, or the Book of Secrets, or something. So instead we get the generic macguffin plot of every spy / government conspiracy time since time immemorial.

But I cared not.

If I was looking for the most stonking original plot of all time I’d maybe begrudge it a complaint; but in this instance I am not. It’s a hugely enjoyable blockbuster with leads positively glowing with charisma and chemistry, and the fight scenes are simply sublime john wicky-wicky-wa-wa.

Every bad guy fires with the aiming skill of a blind stormtrooper and the main villain isn’t even the primary villain – no, that honour falls to ‘the old man’, who never makes an appearance. Sorry, cliché meter just went off the scale.

What annoys me about these kind of films is that someone was actually hired and paid good money to write the plot. And yet its so full of cliches. Now, I refuse to believe the writer was genuinely unaware of just about every other film in the genre so why did he/she write, knowingly, such a generic slice of cinematic nonsense. I struggle to write short stories daily simply because I suddenly hit a moment when I’ve repeated a plot twist from another movie, and can’t keep going.

However, theres a bottom line here, and that’s this film is highly enjoyable. Don’t go in expecting it to make Oscar history. Expect an annoying amount of CGI-enhanced stuntwork (this is no James Bond film, so this is going to be Fast and Furious nonsence).

But again, cut away all the silliness and allow your brain to enjoy Hollywood’s trope – meaningless escapist action. From the thunderous opening music cue to the rapturous kick-ass finale, its mindless awesomeness.

Give the sequel a plot and you’ll blow the roof off.

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