Recently, Netflix has added a number of action movies, but only a select few have made an impact. The Russo Brothers’ “The Gray Man,” which stars actors including Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans, is the most recent addition to the list. The director duo’s Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) superhero action movies, such as Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, have amassed a sizable fan base, but their most recent film, the nonstop action extravaganza “Extraction” (starring Chris Hemsworth), has drawn mixed reactions from both audiences and critics.
While we may think that an always smiling Ryan Gosling does not fit perfectly for the role of a menacing assassin, “The Gray Man” has proved this wrong when his character stands tall against an even more villainous Chris Evans. For many of us who have been following their body of work over the past few years, this one film is an interesting collaboration resulting in an entertaining action thriller.
“The Gray Man” Storyline
When a shadowy CIA agent Court (Ryan Gosling) with the code name ‘Sierra Six’ uncovers damaging agency secrets that have the potential to expose the dark business run by the intelligence agency, he must run from the CIA’s grasp that has sent a sociopathic rogue operative Lloyd (Chris Evans) to kill Court and extract an encrypted drive containing information about the corruption of a top CIA official Denny Carmichael. Sierra Six who himself is a hardened criminal and let out only to carry out top-secret assassination assignments must escape from the clutches of numerous international hit men.
So, the first thing about any action movie is whether it has that entertaining value. “The Gray Man” does indeed have all the flavors of a great action flick with some extended action sequences involving bombing, gunfights, and hand-to-hand combat. No matter how theatrical it may seem, “The Gray Man” seems more like a Michael Bay film with all the violence and turmoil onscreen. All the same, Russo Brothers have done a terrific job in keeping us engaged with action-packed globe-trotting adventure.
The movie, however, lacks a story with good characterization. While it has Ryan Gosling with a sketchy backstory, the storyline does not have much substance for its other central characters. We don’t get emotionally attached to any of the characters other than the one played by Gosling and that too because of the sole reason that he still has some moral left in the dirty business that everyone else is a part of.
Given his prior movies, Chris Evans’ psychotic ex-CIA agent Lloyd is overly hilarious, which makes the movie kind of amusing to watch. However, other than Ryan Gosling’s ” Sierra Six”, if there is one character with the strongest effect, it’s the Indian movie star Dhanush’s “Lone Wolf”. He has very less screen presence but from his entrance, it was obvious that the filmmakers – Joe Russo and Anthony Russo – are aware of his iconic status, especially in Tamil cinema.
Ultimately, the film’s storyline involving the chase and hunt thrill, in some way or other, is similar to many others, including Léon: The Professional, Taken, Jason Bourne, John Wick film series, and more. Nevertheless, its intense action, popular cast, and old-school storyline make it fun to watch. “The Gray Man” may not be the finest one streaming on Netflix, but it indeed is the smartest action film of the year.
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jessica Henwick, Regé-Jean Page, Wagner Moura, Julia Butters, Dhanush, Alfre Woodard, and Billy Bob Thornton.
Director: Russo Brothers
Screenplay: Joe Russo, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Based on The Gray Man, by Mark Greaney
Cinematography: Stephen F. Windon
Distributed by Netflix
Release Date: July 22, 2022