Movie Review: The Fall Guy

One-liner: A sharp concept and healthy dose of chemistry, fun and spectacle drive this flashy action comedy romance.

The Fall Guy is an action comedy romance movie starring Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt. This colourful and energetic blast of cheeky fun comes from David Leitch, whose Bullet Train adaptation gives audiences a taste of what to expect from his latest adventure.

The movie journeys with a stuntman who finds himself on his ex-girlfriend’s film set after being derailed by an accident. Having done a disappearing act, it’s not long before sparks fly in an attempt to rescue her epic sci-fi odyssey directorial debut from complete disaster. Set against the backdrop of the film industry, there’s a wonderful central concept of a stunt guy taking on the lead role as echoed by the series of the same name. While not many will recall the original The Fall Guy, this vibrant modern adaptation takes full ownership as a standalone film.

Set in Australia, perhaps it’s not all that surprising that the movie poster’s colour scheme is reminiscent of Mad Max: Fury Road, speaking to the action-intensive nature of this fun spectacle. While Fury Road was mostly shot in Namibia, there’s an attempt to snare some of that in-your-face action (and thunder) with the Furiosa sequel returning to Mad Max’s spiritual home down under. While this may have been done for budgetary reasons, the net result is refreshing, allowing the film to have a slightly grittier and fresher feel to what’s come to be expected from Hollywood.

Ryan Gosling proved himself wrong with an Oscar-nominated turn as Ken in Greta Gerwig’s sensational phenomenon, Barbie. While known to flit between comedy, drama and everything inbetween, the role as Ken certainly reminded us of the Lars and Real Girl actor’s straight-faced comic delivery. Taking a page from fellow Ryan… Reynolds, who’s also branched into action, the actor’s beefed up a bit to make a convincing stunt guy in The Fall Guy. There are echoes of his turn in The Nice Guys, instead teaming up with Emily Blunt instead of Russell Crowe. This role may not be all that memorable for Blunt but she captures the tongue-in-cheek spirit of Leitch’s actioner in all its silliness.

the fall guy film

“You had me at… ‘what the hell are *you* doing here?’.”

The Fall Guy isn’t reaching for the game-changing status of Barbie or Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s just wanting to ensure your popcorn isn’t the main attraction. Featuring two easy-on-the-eye A-listers, the visual dynamic is praised – even if the sparks of comedy demonstrate an affinity and understanding of humour. Contrasting big spectacle moments with a story-within-a-story self-referential charm, there’s a trick to The Fall Guy – one that frequently gets played on. This curious and entertaining tension isn’t nearly as dumb or silly as Zoolander but the movie does have a few Top Secret type moments in its send up of the filmmaking business.

As an action movie, The Fall Guy delivers again and again with its surreal blend of action sequences, allowing Gosling to truly flex his abilities without breaking a sweat. Blunt chimes in with a decent supporting turn as the camera operator taking her big break with a massive chip on her shoulder. Together there’s definite chemistry and even though the movie keeps thing fairly light and frothy for comic effect, there’s enough charm and will-they-or-won’t-they to power home.

Much like Bullet Train, the emphasis is on popcorn fun and spectacle. If you go in expecting to be amused and entertained, you can’t fault The Fall Guy for taking every effort to maximise entertainment value. In the same spirit, it’s one of those movies that develops to a point and runs out of gears. The focus is on action comedy rather than romance and ambling along with a directive to be visually-striking – there’s a dedication to the appearance of things rather than a fixation on nuance or the character’s inner worlds. Take it for what it is and you’ll have enjoy The Fall Guy, its co-stars, chemistry and curious concept.

The bottom line: Entertaining

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