The Fall Guy Review: Movie Stars Salvage Mediocre Mystery

The stunt-performing community has garnered attention due to debates about practical vs. CG effects, oversights by organizations, and on-set tragedies. These highly skilled performers risk their lives to entertain, yet their accomplishments often go unnoticed. Director David Leitch’s “The Fall Guy” pays tribute to the stunt community while also adapting the 1980s TV series. While the film fails to fully succeed as either an action-packed mystery or romantic comedy, it compensates with the star power of Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt, coupled with impressive action sequences.

After an on-set injury, stuntman Colt Seavers quits Hollywood. Producer Gail Meyer hires him to double for Tom Ryder on Jody Moreno’s debut film. Colt and Jody, ex-lovers, hope to reconnect. However, Gail reveals Tom’s disappearance, prompting Colt to investigate. Meanwhile, Jody struggles with her feelings for him.

Leitch, known for his expertise in action cinema, has crafted a captivating film in “The Fall Guy.” While other action franchises strive for grandeur, Leitch exercises surprising restraint, delivering action sequences reminiscent of ’80s classics. Instead of jaw-dropping stunts, the film showcases a blend of fight scenes, explosions, collisions, and falls, achieved through practical effects. This intentional approach allows the audience to fully appreciate the artistry and skill involved in the film’s exciting sequences.

Despite the film’s opening scenes extolling stunt work and incorporating clips from the director’s previous films, and the prominent display of his production company’s logo on airbags in pivotal scenes, it remains unclear whether “The Fall Guy” is intended as a meta commentary on the field or simply a showcase for its often-overlooked professionals. While the stunt sequences retain their excitement, they may appear more basic by 2024’s standards, suggesting a return to the fundamentals of on-screen stunts.

Under Leitch’s direction, the film struggles with maintaining narrative momentum. While the script offers an intriguing mystery reminiscent of the original series, the investigation’s progress is often interrupted by romantic subplots. This tonal inconsistency, coupled with the excessive run time, hinders the film’s focus, leaving viewers with a sense of disjointedness.

Despite narrative and tonal inconsistencies, “The Fall Guy” highlights the exceptional talents of Ryan Gosling, Emily Blunt, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Hannah Waddingham, and Derek Luke. The comedy, while often relying on simplistic humor, is elevated by the cast’s infectious enthusiasm. They fully commit to every moment, delivering both thrilling action sequences and charming romantic exchanges. Each scene, while entertaining on its own (particularly a drug-fueled incident involving Gosling), suffers from director David Leitch’s inability to create a cohesive narrative that balances all elements effectively.

Despite its star-studded cast and enjoyable entertainment value, “The Fall Guy” ultimately feels like an extended TV episode rather than a cinematic spectacle. However, its solid foundation suggests potential for future installments to elevate its formula. While the film effectively incorporates its core elements, it lacks the transformative touch of previous adaptations like “Mission: Impossible,” which successfully evolved their source material into something truly extraordinary.

3/5 rating

Prepare for high-octane thrills as _The Fall Guy_ races into theaters on May 3rd.

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