THE GRAY MAN: A Review

I sat down last night to watch the latest on Netflix, The Gray Man. I didn’t know much about it, but the cast was good and it was from Joe and Anthony Russo, so I was intrigued.

The cast is Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Billy Bob Thornton, Jessica Hanwick, Dhanush, Alfre Woodward, and Rege-Jean Page. It was directed by the Russo’s, with Joe Russo, Christopher Markus, and Stephen McFeely penning the script play.

The plot is:

When the CIA’s most skilled operative-whose true identity is known to none-accidentally uncovers dark agency secrets, a psychopathic former colleague puts a bounty on his head, setting off a global manhunt by international assassins.

Not the most original of stories, since it reminded me of John Wick 2 or 3, the one where everyone is after him, type of thing, but it only reminded me of that, overall, this was a great action flick.

Six (Gosling) was in jail but offered the chance to get out and become a trained killer for the CIA. Many years later, in the present day, that’s just what he is doing. He’s in Bangkok, I think it was, with his partner Dani (De Armas), there to kill a bad guy, at least, that’s what he’s been told.

He aborts the mission since there’s a kid in the way, something his superiors don’t like, they don’t care about collateral damage, even kids. He ends up in a brutal fight with the ‘bad guy’, only to find out that the bad guy is called Four, all part of the agency, but has information about what’s really going on.

Six takes the information and the hunt is on. This all happens in the first 10 -15 minutes, so I’m not going to spoil the rest of the story, but overall, The Gray Man is a solid movie with a good story.

There’s an action sequel, early on, both in and outside a plane. I found the direction here was a bit messy and, if I was to guess, budget constraints meant they had to put some very heavy filters over the top of it so you didn’t see any bad CG.

There is another moment, where the main bad guy sends in the troops to complete an operation, where he should have obviously been doing it himself, but the way the story plays out, he would have been killed and they needed him later.

Also, there is a perfectly good opportunity to kill the main bad guy at one point, but they don’t take it, since again, they need him for later. These are mild complaints though.

The rest of the movie is just great, there are some brutal punch-ups, a couple where De Armas has her ass kicked, and some proper ‘HOLY SHIT’ moments.

Gosling is excellent in this, he is a total bad ass, taking punching and stabbings without a hint of pain. You defiantly wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of Six.

This brings me to Evans, who is the bad guy, and he’s such a great bad guy, totally unhinged, will do anything to get his man, and seems to take pleasure in torturing people. Almost the complete opposite of Captain America, and it works beautifully.

They say Bond is only as good as the bad guy, and in The Gray Man, you can really get your teeth into hating this bad guy, he’s really good, at being bad.

Overall, this is a really solid action flick, there’s no woke, there’s no message, there’s no ‘token actors’, the Russo’s just wanted to make an awesome action thriller and that’s what they did. The Winter Soldier is one of the best of the MCO movies, and this is pretty much the same tone, but just a lot more violent.

De Armas was there as a support to Gosling, not to be better than him or be the center of attention in his movie. I mean, she does save him on the odd occasion, but it’s done in that ‘women are great and men are stupid’ way, she’s just there to help.

I honestly found myself on the edge of my seat during the movie, although, some of the action goes a little too over the top, but you can ignore it since you’re just having a great time watching it.

I give The Gray Man a solid 4 out of 5, very close to a 4.5, but there are a couple of moments where the script lets it down a little, but in the end, I was thoroughly entertained by a good, old-fashioned action movie, as you would get from the 80s, but with a bigger budget.

Totally recommended and I will be seeing it again!

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The Gray Man (2022)
4/5

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