Thursday, June 13, 2024

The Fall Guy movie review & film summary (2024)

David Leitch started as a stunt double, working with actors like Brad Pitt, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Matt Damon, and many more. His directorial debut was a little film called “John Wick,” and he parlayed that success into films like “Atomic Blonde” and “Bullet Train.” He returns to his roots in “The Fall Guy,” inspired by the Lee Majors show of the same name about a Hollywood stuntman who happened to also be a bounty hunter. Little narrative DNA is shared with the show beyond a profession and a name, but the 2024 “The Fall Guy” does have the general tone of ‘80s television in the way it blends a bit of humor, romance, mystery, and action into the mix, willing to drop references to the action stars that inspired it while also carving out its own personality.

Ryan Gosling is ridiculously charismatic as the new Colt Seavers, giving one of those broadly magnetic performances that made him so likable in films like “The Nice Guys” but also leaning on some acting chops and intensity that should remind fans of his iconic turn in “Drive.” “The Fall Guy” is very much about the people behind the scenes of the movie industry, but it’s almost more of an ode to the era of the movie star, when a performer could hold a viewer over any narrative speedbump. Mostly for the better, Hollywood shifted to a story-and concept-driven approach to moviemaking, but Leitch and the team behind “The Fall Guy” clearly remember when a superstar who was both sexy and funny—think Burt Reynolds at his peak—could be more than enough. Gosling has that easy-going charm. When he was singing “I’m Just Ken” at the Oscars, the man next to me at the bar at which I was watching it at SXSW, said, “I’m almost annoyed at how that guy can do anything.” “The Fall Guy” proves again the last five words of that statement true.

Colt is introduced on set as the double to a diva action star named Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson, doing enough of a blend between Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, and even Matthew McConaughey that he seems right without ever feeling like he’s specifically ripping on one actor). When a fall goes horribly wrong, Colt is sidelined for 18 months, leaving behind his girlfriend Jody (Emily Blunt) and maybe the industry for good. When Jody’s producer Gail (Hannah Waddingham) comes to Colt to beg him to double Ryder again on the set of Jody’s directorial debut, Colt relents. The first act of “The Fall Guy” basically plays like a romantic comedy as Jody berates Colt for running from their relationship after his accident in a great scene in front of a lot of cast and crew—it feels like a reminder of how little privacy there is on a movie set—and then the script by Drew Pearce pivots into mystery and action when Ryder goes missing. Winston Duke, Stephanie Hsu, Teresa Palmer, and a French-speaking action dog round out a great cast. More needle drops from the era of the show, including recurring use of the very recognizable riff of “I Was Made for Lovin’ You” by KISS, feel like a nod to both the era of the original series and when they made more action-rom-coms like this in Hollywood.

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HomeReviewsThe Fall Guy movie review & film summary (2024)

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