L to R: Director David Leitch and Ryan Gosling (as Colt Seavers) on the set of THE FALL GUY

The problem with THE FALL GUY is that it’s not really about the world of stunt performers, and nor does it do enough to truly recognize their contributions to cinema. The opening monologue rewrites what’s classic from the TV series, and the movie (METALSTORM) being made within this movie vaguely hints at it. But unless audiences know their film history, they won’t recognise why Jodi Moreno (Emily Blunt) is making such a B-Movie set in the cosmic Wild West. I honestly believe this piece of popcorn entertainment should be reedited to focus more on her rather than Ryan Gosling.

Back in the early days, cowboys helped bring excitement to the silver screen. During the golden age of cinema, Westerns were very popular and often, these wranglers were hired to ride and ready those horses to do some rather amazing things in front of the camera.

None of this movie makes sense in light of the fact the television series that it draws inspiration from is about three highly skilled individuals taking on crime, searching for fugitives, and collecting bounties the best way they know how–through movie-making magic and sometimes with a bit of good ol’ fashioned cowboy diplomacy. Howie Munson is the naïve intellect, an Ivy League graduate who wants to pay back his cousin (Colt helped pay the tuition bills) and Jody Banks is the support when disguise requires an attractive woman to be the distraction. 

In the update, Colt Seavers (Ryan Gosling looking very handsomely gruffed up) is hired to do the stunts much to Moreno’s chagrin. They were a couple some years ago, but after a stunt went wrong, he left the business, ghosted her and thought life would be okay as a valet. But after getting convinced by Gale (Hannah Waddingham), a producer friend, to return, things get weird. The former couple vent their feelings rather embarrassingly in front of their peers and when Seavers stumbles onto a dead body, little does he realise his past will haunt him! 

The mystery is hardly all that engaging, and I yawned throughout the first half of the film. It wouldn’t be until later when the stunts are much more high octane and somewhat impressive. Honestly, I thought I was watching MISSION IMPOSSIBLE lite. When considering half the production team worked on that franchise, this fact should not be surprising.

While I did not expect this cinematic adaptation to honour the television series basic premise, it could have done more to explore why these risk-takers do what they do. I knew right away that THE FALL GUY was meant to refer to how Seavers would take the rap for the murder, and when I can predict everything to come, it’s not a movie I feel I need to see again. Once was enough. I must also offer a word of caution, the song “The Unknown Stuntmen” is horribly massacred by country singer Blake Shelton. He rewrites a few lines that just do not work.

All I can say is that this movie is simply a Michael Bay film–quite loud and crazy–jacked up to showcase how hot Gosling has become post-BARBIE. He’s an actor that has proved himself a long time ago, but taking on roles that’s more about being a beefcake than star will typecast him. Hopefully he realises that and will take on serious roles.

Jason Whyte | Get Reel Movies

THE FALL GUY is now playing in cinemas!

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