5.5/10 Not to be confused with the Monkeypox origin story, “The Gay Man”, “The Gray Man” sees the return of The Russo Brothers (“Avengers: Infinity War”, “Avengers: Endgame”, “Cherry”) in what ends up being one of their weakest directorial efforts to date. Reuniting with their screenwriters who worked on both of their Avengers films, the screenwriters are adapting a 2009 novel of the same name. Netflix threw $200 million behind this movie in the hopes that a franchise would be spawned, since the book series upon which this is based has a whopping 11 novels released so far, with a 12th to come out in 2023. Netflix has already announced a sequel and a spin-off to this movie, so they must be pretty happy with their results here, even though they probably shouldn’t be. While “The Gray Man” does nail a few aspects, they fail just as many others, which is especially disappointing coming from such talented directors. As for what works, the cast is pretty fantastic. Ryan Gosling stars as Sierra Six, our protagonist which has Gosling combining several of his past roles (“Drive” for example) but with more sarcasm. Chris Evans plays our antagonist Lloyd Hanen and since Evans is rather smug in real life, he is perfectly cast as the smug psychopath of a villain, who’s torturous and brutal techniques make him a memorable villain. The supporting cast is fantastic too with talents like Billy Bob Thorton, Ana de Armas and Julia Butters knocking their respective roles out of the park, even with more limited screen time. The score from Henry Jackman is solid, especially near the beginning of the film. The score is balanced out by a fun and diverse soundtrack, making for a great blend of music. This is an action film and while there are some negative aspects to the action, since we are focusing on the positive aspects for now, we will stick to what worked. We get a lot of James Bond-esque globe trotting in some beautiful locations and the action provides some terrific set pieces, particularly most of the action in Prague. The fight choreography is well done and we get a wide variety of weapons with everything from hand guns to rifles to rocket launchers to knives to scissors and everything in between. Despite the movie’s two hour run time, the pacing worked well as the movie barely stops to take a breath before thrusting you into the next location, fight scene or bit of character development. While some of our characters do get some decent development, others are not as lucky which transitions us to the negatives that really bring this movie down to mediocre levels. The biggest problem is simply the story, which having never read the book, I can only assume that it stems from the original source material (perhaps the screenwriters should have made some story changes). The plot is completely generic, unoriginal and something we have seen a million times before. A corrupt government agency turning on its own agents, only to have the agents fight back has been done countless time and no matter how solid your action is or how talented your cast, you can’t overlook the lazy plot. In other dumb moments, we get some clunky exposition as well as characters leaving each other alive when they have the chance to kill them, just so the movie can keep going. As far as the action being a mixed bag, while a lot of the action was impressive, certain scenes had major problems. The worst action scene takes place in mid air with two obviously CGI men fighting that not only looked fake but had such horrible cinematography and editing that you couldn’t tell who was who or what the Hell was going on. Instead of taking the “John Wick” approach and letting the audience see these fight scenes that the actors and stunt men worked so hard on making, we get a lot of horrible cinematography/editing to make certain moments a jumbled, incoherent mess. Even though the Prague set piece was fun, by the end of the scene the movie goes full “Fast and the Furious” and becomes ridiculously over the top and cheesy, killing earlier scenes that actually had some grounded, realistic elements to them. The Russo Brothers handled action better in both of their Avengers films so to see some of the problems here felt really out of place. All in all, the pros and cons tend to cancel each other out, ending in what ends up being an average, forgettable movie. However, when you drop $200 million on one of the most expensive Netflix original films ever made, you shouldn’t settle for mediocrity. Let’s hope the screenwriters spend more time scripting the sequel because Netflix can’t afford to continue to drop huge sums of money on movies like this that won’t bring in any new subscribers for them.

#FiftyShadesOfGrayMen / #TimeToMeetYourPacemaker / #TheRidiculousSierraSix / #AnaDeHarmYourAss / #FranchisePlaPlaPlanned / #KnivesBout

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s