The Fall Guy movie review: A serviceable homage to the stunt community

03 May,2024 04:08 PM IST |  Mumbai  |  Johnson Thomas

The Fall Guy movie review: Basically, this is thin plotting held together by exemplary stunt work and some solid charisma from its lead stars

Still from The Fall Guy

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Film: The Fall Guy
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Emily Blunt, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Winston Duke, Hannah Waddingham, Stephanie Hsu, Teresa Palmer
Director: David Leitch
Rating: 2.5/5
Runtime: 126 min

Ryan Gosling steps into Lee Major's shoes for the movie version of the hit TV series ‘The Fall Guy'. The film plays out as an action fueled romcom with both lead actors working well within the genre's elementary codes.

Midway through the narrative we find Jody ( Emily Blunt) who is helming her debut film ( a full-on, sc-fi action love story between a space cowboy and an alien princess), disgruntled on seeing her unreliable ex, stunt double Colt Seavers (Ryan Gosling) working on her set.

At first Jody wants him off the set, but later on relents and gets him to redo a dangerous stunt several times over - even when not required, and then she promptly recites the plot of her sci-fi romance, in such a way as to make Seavers realise it is their own story. That's as funny as this movie gets.

Basically, this is thin plotting held together by exemplary stunt work and some solid charisma from its lead stars. The plot is nonsensical. The in-film's lead action star Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) goes incommunicado, the Director is totally unaware because she is concentrating on shooting the stunt sequences and the stunt man on the job is someone who hasn't trained a day since he broke his back 18 months ago. The down-and-out stuntman Seavers is also tasked with finding the missing star.Then a murder takes place, Seavers gets framed and there's even talk of AI and deep fakes being used for making the charge stick. Seavers is also made to go through the works falling through windscreens, jumping down from heights, racing and outmaneuvering the baddies in fast-moving vehicles and boats - all with a patched together back. The storyline is pretty lame and quite a challenge it is to suspend your disbelief here.

The action sequences are delivered in entertaining fashion, it's not edgy but manages to thrill even so."The Fall Guy" includes some really difficult stunt work - a cannon roll stunt, a fight in a spinning dumpster, and several incredible vehicle jumps. The apartment-wrecking fight between Colt and a sword-wielding female assailant, a nightclub fight with Colt hallucinating sparks and a car-and-truck chase get the adrenaline going for a bit. But there's not much balance here between character, comedy, and action.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson does well as the toonish action star, Gosling is assured in comedy and Blunt is a hoot. Gosling and Blunt get some really believable chemistry going, accompanied by some tongue in cheek humour. Gosling in fact, transitions from assured stunt performer to heartbroken lover out for redemption, with consummate ease. Winston Duke as a stunt co-ordinator quoting inspiring dialogue from movies and naming action stars/characters while getting into fights, adds to the fun element here.

The fly away humor gets embedded with some classic references and musical parlays. The lead couple correct each other while referencing ‘Notting Hill' and in split-screen - like in ‘Pillow Talk,' and we even get to see a heartbroken Colt shedding tears while a Taylor Swift song is playing on his car stereo. The ‘Dune' parody may not work up laughs but it's a send-up that registers.

‘The Fall Guy' hopes to be an anachronism in today's CGI heavy cinema. It's practical effects and real world action highlights the high-risk, dangerous lives of Stunt people while setting up a fairly enjoyable meter of action-comedy in its wake.

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