The Fall Guy : Movie Review

Posted by Eddie Pasa on May 1, 2024 in / No Comments

 

Rated PG-13 by the MPAA for action and violence, drug content and some strong language. DO NOT MISS THE END CREDITS SCENE AFTER THE OUTTAKES MONTAGE! Running time: 126 minutes. Released by Universal Pictures.

Do not get up out of your seats until the mid-credits scene!

DC Movie Critics, DC Movie Reviews, DC Film Critics, Eddie Pasa, Movie Critics, Film Critics, Movie Review, Film Review, The Fall Guy, Universal PicturesLet’s face it. You’re not plopping your butt in a theater seat to watch The Fall Guy for edification and enlightenment; you’re in for daring stunts and star-powered entertainment while the thinnest of storylines holds everything together. One of my friends equated movies like this to a Twinkie: They hold no nutritional value, but they’re just so enjoyable and you love them just because. (Thanks, Olivia.) Truly, The Fall Guy is pure fluff as far as plot and performance, but director David Leitch’s love letter to stunt professionals (which he once was) and the profession itself has enough oomph and charm to wallpaper over anything that might fall apart under scrutiny.

Why bother scrutinizing? Just… don’t. You’ve got a movie starring Ryan Gosling as Colt Seavers, a stuntman with ice in his veins who eats pressure for breakfast and poops diamond stunt performances, yet still finds the time to be sensitive and loving toward his camera operator girlfriend, Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt). But after approaching a dangerous re-take of a stunt too overconfidently, he finds himself as a Mexican restaurant parking valet 18 months later, having suffered untold, career-ending injuries. All it takes to get him back in the saddle is one call from producer Gail Meyer (Hannah Waddingham) telling him that Jody – who’s now making a big-budget directorial debut – needs him on set straightaway to stand in for longtime acting partner Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). And it doesn’t help that Tom’s gone missing.

DC Movie Critics, DC Movie Reviews, DC Film Critics, Eddie Pasa, Movie Critics, Film Critics, Movie Review, Film Review, The Fall Guy, Universal PicturesStory? Pffffft. Let’s call it what it is: a stunt delivery system. While Drew Pearce’s script does provide a few laughs and Colt’s emotional drive to win Jody back by being the person he should’ve been to her during his recovery, the story’s just a framing device to get him into stunt-worthy predicaments. I mean, yeah, the script works, but Pearce takes a bit of everything from The Bourne Identity to The Negotiator to 1995’s Mortal Kombat to set Colt up for tons of leaping, fighting, and many, many other sight gags.

But there’s a sweetness that Pearce and Gosling bring to the lead character that buoys the film and makes Colt a character that rightfully commands our attention and love. Little personal moments between action set pieces fashion Colt into a more complex, thoughtful, and smart character than we expect. His interactions with Jody, crew members, and fellow stunt professionals – most notably with stunt coordinator Dan Tucker (Winston Duke) – show that he’s grateful for every opportunity to be thrown against a rock face or crash a car for the glory of the “Hall H shot” that’s gonna wow the San Diego Comic-Con audience.

DC Movie Critics, DC Movie Reviews, DC Film Critics, Eddie Pasa, Movie Critics, Film Critics, Movie Review, Film Review, The Fall Guy, Universal PicturesLeitch for sure knows how to wow the crowd. Thanks to careful setups and editor Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir letting us linger on grand cinematic spectacles captured by John Wick cinematographer Jonathan Sela, The Fall Guy certainly has a lot of action to go five times around. Whether it’s on-set explosions and combat or a careening dump truck chase through downtown Sydney, you can tell Leitch is having fun making the most of every second, dazzling us with long shots of uninterrupted derring-do and smash-‘em-up wrecking sequences that make our eyes pop and the theater speakers go full blast.

And that’s what The Fall Guy is: pure entertainment. David Leitch has assembled a cast that’s up for anything, no matter how hard the script pushes into absurd or trite territory. He’s cultivated a stunt team under his 87North production banner (formerly 87 Eleven Productions) and brings them to bear fearless talent on screen. There’s a romance that doesn’t delve into the sappy; instead, it’s treated with light comedy and a touch of genuine emotion to make it real. The mystery of the disappearing actor is enough to hook us and keep us hooked until it’s all sorted out. When it’s all done, there’s a montage of outtakes and B-roll footage to show us how much really goes into making a good time at the movies. And there’s still one surprise left during the credits, placed there to keep your eyes on the screen so you can see the names of the people who worked hard for you to be entertained. This is cinema, folks, and The Fall Guy heartily invites you to appreciate what it takes to make theatergoers say, “Holy shit, that was awesome!”

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Eddie Pasa

Eddie is a member of the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA) and the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS). Since starting in 2010 at The Rogers Revue, Eddie has written for Reel Film News (now defunct), co-founded DC Filmdom, and writes occasionally for Gunaxin. When not reviewing movies, he's spending time with his wife and children, repeat-viewing favorites on 4k or Blu-Ray, working for rebranding agency Mekanic, or playing acoustic shows and DJing across the DC/MD/VA area. Special thanks go to Jenn Carlson, Moira and Ari Pasa, Viki Nova at City Dock Digital in Annapolis, Mike Parsons, Philip Van Der Vossen, and Dean Rogers.

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