The Gray Man (2022)
July 25, 2022 1:01 PM - Subscribe

When the CIA's most skilled mercenary known as Court Gentry, aka Sierra Six, accidentally uncovers dark agency secrets, he becomes a primary target and is hunted around the world by psychopathic former colleague Lloyd Hansen and international assassins. A $200 million Netflix original directed by the Russo Brothers (Avengers: Endgame) and starring Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Regé-Jean Page, Billy Bob Thornton, and Alfre Woodard.
posted by DirtyOldTown (12 comments total)
It had some good action sequences. Chris Evans was a fun psychopath, if ridiculous. Ana de Armas could star in a feature length film about paint drying and I would watch it with rapt attention.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 1:54 PM on July 25, 2022

I spent a fair amount of the film wondering how much it cost. Gosling and Evans can't be cheap and there were some big set pieces but some stuff seemed oddly half arsed. The plane and parachute fight was dull and brought nothing new at all and the parachute bit seemed practically unfinished. Overall it just didn't really fly for me, script wasn't sharp enough, there was nothing interesting to Gosling's character and Evans wasn't given enough to carry it.
posted by biffa at 1:54 PM on July 25, 2022 [1 favorite]

I am shallow and can admit that I watched it purely for the pleasure of seeing Chris Evans play another complete asshole, having been super tickled by his heel turn in Knives Out. Can recommend it on that basis, at least.
posted by merriment at 2:14 PM on July 25, 2022 [8 favorites]

The fist fight among the fireworks was fun. The "battle of Prague" was so over-the-top ridiculous that I finally decided I enjoyed it. But there were too many set pieces and not enough actual story. And the MacGuffin started it all went nowhere.
posted by SPrintF at 2:15 PM on July 25, 2022 [3 favorites]

The MacGuffin is clearly a setup for the sequel where we find out who the 'old man' is. There is a decent 90 to 110 minute movie lurking in this two hour plus monster. The Evans bits a suitably OTT, anything with Ana de Armas and Jessica Henwick has my immediate attention, and this film would be significantly better (as so many Hollywood action films would be) if they planned out practical stunts for things like the parachute fight and limited the CGI to polishing the sequence rather than using it to animate the action.
posted by Ignorantsavage at 2:37 PM on July 25, 2022

I was ready to ignore the lukewarm reviews and enjoy this, but I found it very mediocre in the end.

The acting is mostly good, and some of the set pieces are nice, but yah... somehow it all just felt perfunctory and half-baked. There's a lot of character elements thrown in the air (villains went to uni together, six had an abusive father, teenager has a heart condition, random honourable Tamil guy), but none of it really goes anywhere.

And although the Prague shoot out was kind of fun... it also just strained credulity too much for me. Like... a loose cannon managed to make some phone calls and suddenly lay siege to a corner of the city?

Also somehow Ryan Gosling grunts grant immunity to stab wounds?

And man, there was a heck of a lot of nice-seeming mooks who just got the shit murdered out of them.
posted by Alex404 at 2:57 PM on July 25, 2022 [1 favorite]

It was a decent "oh, ok, time to turn off brain and watch everything go boom" movie. The action set pieces (Prague, the final siege on the castle thingy) were entertaining for a bit until the "bullet-proof" sports car kind of just shrugged off many frame-bending crashes and drove away with only some panels dented and the alignment still working. Oh, and the doors opening and latching, that was funny.
posted by daq at 2:29 PM on July 26, 2022

I don't know what else I've seen him in, but I liked Gosling in the Blade Runner sequel, and I like him in this. And one gets the feeling Chris Evans was having a good time not being Captain America.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 8:04 PM on July 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

It so thoroughly didn't engage my brain that when I finally realised I was watching a remake of Commando (1985) and Chris Evans was channeling Vernon Wells I just relaxed into it.
posted by Molesome at 4:45 AM on July 27, 2022

On paper, this should have been a home run for me: globetrotting smooth-brained mystery/spy/action movie with leads I like!

Instead I hated it, like want to write a letter to Netflix hated it. The overwhelming misogyny was too much to bear. Paternalistic, ceaselessly and gratuitously derogatory towards female characters and just women in general (“usually when the stage lights go up I find an ugly chick and lick my wounds”…excuse me?), storylines where female characters exist only as accessories and foils to the male characters and where they are constantly being bested in fight scenes—ugh. Not to mention the mystical Asian racist plot point of Lone Wolf giving the hard drive back to Miranda because “these are not honorable people”. Give me a break!

Totally unredeemable and without any humor or generosity of spirit, F- -, would not see again. If you were similarly disappointed may I recommend Ambulance, a delight of a movie, or even the tedious but charming Uncharted?
posted by stellaluna at 8:44 PM on July 27, 2022

It struck me very much as the sort of film one would get when people accustomed to making superhero movies make an action thriller (and attempt to set up a blockbuster franchise instead of making a self-contained film). It tried to hold a tension between gritty and outlandish that felt kind of off.

I do wish that Fit had thrown the "boring" thing back in Lloyd's face after he made a big show of doing improvisational torture and then went straight to pulling out fingernails, the most cliched torture technique available.

The flare gun that somehow reloaded itself was a bit too much suspension of disbelief for me. Did no one on the set comment that flare guns only hold one round? Lloyd had a knife, so he just could have threatened Claire with that.

Even so, it was entertaining enough for the price of admission, well-shot if a little reliant on drone cameras, had some good set pieces and fun moments, but I don't think we need a Gray Man series.
posted by subocoyne at 10:37 AM on July 28, 2022

I've read some of the books, and seen some MCU movies (and some Netflix originals), so my expectations were probably about where they needed to be.

It's based on a novel (think of a point halfway between Jack Reacher and Jason Bourne and you'll be in the general area) by a guy who wrote four Jack Ryan books after Tom Clancy died.

Per Wikipedia, the movie lingered in development hell for almost a decade, and eight different people worked on the screenplay.

It was made to get a middling Rotten Tomatoes critics score, and much higher audience scores from a group of people that the Netflix algorithm thinks will like it. None of that is to say it's bad, but also that's a process that will reliably produce something in a range from, like, not-terrible to mediocre.

It's not a movie as much as it's a movie-shaped product, and it makes me think I should hurry up and write that listicle rating Netflix original action movies before somebody asks ChatGPT to do it.
posted by box at 2:47 PM on June 11, 2023

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