AGGRESSIVE mediocre – that’s the only way to describe it The gray manNetflix’s latest blockbuster action film.
Based on a 2009 novel by Mark Greaney, The gray man sees CIA assassin Sierra Six (Ryan Gosling) on the run after coming into contact with a storage device containing information about the corruption behind a senior CIA official.
To successfully hunt down Six, the CIA hires former agent and mercenary Lloyd Hansen (Chris Evans).
Due to Hansen’s actual insanity, Six is forced into multiple near-death situations that leave countless others dead.
Honestly, The gray man is the kind of movie you play on TV during a family reunion so your uncle from the Steven Seagal era of action movies straight to DVD can sit quietly and watch the movie instead of bothering everyone else with his awkward “jokes”.
About star power
It’s surprising that the film was directed by the same team behind Marvel Studios’ top-grossing films. The Russo brothers directed the film from a screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.
But despite their experience producing military and spy action films, they came forward The gray manwhich feels like a cheap action film from a bygone era, except it was made at US$200 million (RM891.3 million).
A large chunk of the budget most likely went to the Russo brothers, who (mainly) harnessed Gosling and the star-studded supporting cast who supported him, such as Ana de Armas, and the brothers’ well-known Marvel contributor, Chris Evans.
Luckily, the clearly expensive casting is where The gray man shines the brightest.
Gosling mostly plays it straight as a stoic six, which is pretty much his cemented style journey and Only God forgives. Though he cracks cheeky one-liners every now and then, it’s Evans who heightens the film’s comedy.
Evans strays from Captain America’s Boy Scout image and slips back into the footsteps of the many slimy characters he portrayed in the early days of his career, completely passing as the actual pornostache-swirling villain The gray man.
Evans is having the time of his life playing Lloyd, pulling out fingernails, shooting crippled men, tossing kids around, all the while looking like a shabby adult film director in shabby polo shirts and white pants.
Like the main cast, Ana’s character is a one-dimensional spy, but her performance makes her stand out, especially when she’s running around in full sprint with a missile and grenade launcher on her back.
If anything, her role here is a good starter if she leads dancerthe John Wick spin off.
Average action film
The remainder of the budget most likely went into the VFX and then into the set and costume design, with the VFX, editing and action sequences in particular making the film look cheap.
Set in a set with a train, multiple cars, lots of bullets, some generic villains, and Gosling, the VFX (digital smoke and dust), incomprehensible editing, and violently shaking camera made the entire sequence painful to watch.
In another setpiece, a plane explodes while Gosling’s character battles several generic jerks, and good luck trying to figure out what’s happening to the camera, who’s suffering from whiplash every second.
The gray man has many action sequences. The big ones are terrible, while the smaller ones are decent with melee combat, like Gosling and Ana’s fight against Kollywood actor Dhanush.
If it is not clear at this point, The gray man suffers from not being able to decide what to do, be it writing or action filmmaking.
You can almost hear the film: “Let’s do big-scale action like them binding movies? Or do we opt for smaller action sequences like that John Wick movies? Is this an action comedy with the over the top character of Evans? Or is this a serious action film where how many people get shot, maimed and blown up?
The gray man don’t know because it exists in the gray area of action movies, never is one thing because it’s a product of everything else superimposed on each other.