Movie Review – The Gray Man
Review by Ray Schillaci
How does Netflix do it? They’re not only releasing some of the most bingeable TV shows, but many of their feature films make you wonder how they did not make it to the big screen. This is a huge plus for Netflix subscribers, and the Russo Brothers latest action thriller The Gray Man is a perfect example. The film may not be perfect, but the thrills and laughs are a-plenty and rank right up there with the Lethal Weapon and Mission: Impossible franchises.
Ryan Gosling as Six proves to be every bit of an action star as Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson. He’s fierce, glib, and vulnerable as the man imprisoned for murder and later recruited by an elite section of the CIA to be an assassin. Fast forward eight years later, Six is in Bangkok working with agent Dani Miranda, played with gusto by Ana de Armas (No Time To Die, Knives Out), to assassinate a man selling national security secrets. The setting is a multi-level building with plenty of civilians which makes the kill shot not so stealth as planned.
Once Six catches up with his target, it’s revealed that all is not what it seems to Six. The man targeted works in the same program and he is labeled as Four. He hands off info to Six just before he dies telling him there is corruption within the program. Six questions his superior and ends up going rogue. Six’s superior labels him as a target and brings in a well known sociopath, mercenary Lloyd Hansen, that relishes the job and has anything at his disposal to get rid of Six. Chris Evans as Lloyd has a field day with the role. Yes, Captain America as a mustached lunatic.
From there, it’s one gigantic action set piece after another with Six outfoxing a frustrated Lloyd and the mercenary just bringing in more artillery and manpower that could wipe out a third world country. Is the plot a little over the top? Not a little, more like a lot. But, that does not keep the viewer from being on the edge of their seat with all the antics pulled off by the two major stars. Ana de Armas delivers an extra boost every time she is on screen. Billy Bob Thornton, Alfre Woodard, Regé-Jean Page, Jessica Henwick and the rest of the cast fit the bill of this beautifully fast-paced espionage thriller.
The Russo Brothers have taken a property that’s been lingering around for years and turned it into a no-holds-barred action extravaganza that can easily become a new franchise. This is such a typical Hollywood story: a series of novels (written by Mark Greaney) which originally, back in 2011, was supposed to be directed by James Gray (Ad Astra) and starring Brad Pitt and Charlize Theron in the mercenary role.
This would have been a very different film and I could easily see Pitt in the Gosling role, but cannot see Theron being as much fun as Evans. So, ten years later (and $200 million dollars spent) we get everything on the small screen when it belonged as a summer blockbuster. As it stands, the film had a very limited release. That’s the way the industry is rolling now, streaming bigger and better product. It doesn’t always come out that way, but every now and then we get some really enjoyable movies that make us stream rather than go to our local multiplex. The Russo Brothers’ The Gray Man is a perfect example and is already slated for a sequel.
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Directed by: Joe & Anthony Russo
Release Date: July 22, 2022
Run Time: 122 Minutes
Country: United States/Czech Republic