Today: July 9, 2024

The Fall Guy

The Fall Guy, it seems, is a victim of Hollywood’s current conundrum of getting people into cinemas. Here is a film with two of last year’s hottest talents in the shape of Oppenheimer’s Emily Blunt and Barbie’s Ryan Gosling starring in a film together and yet, on a $150 million budget made only $171 million at the global box office. That, in Hollywood language is considered a failure given the marketing budget they would have had to fork out. Was it because the film is bad? No, it’s far from that, but it does perhaps illustrate that cinemagoers nowadays are looking for an ‘event’ film to tear them away from the convenience of streaming services. Something that is tapping into the zeitgeist or shaping it rather than giving them something more packaged.

Working on a film together, stuntman Colt (Ryan Gosling) and camera operator Jody (Emily Blunt) are embarking on a fledgling romance. But when Colt’s stunt goes horribly wrong he drops off the radar leaving Jody to wonder what could have been. 18 months later Jody is a hot young director embarking on a huge film starring Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnsson). Colt meanwhile is a valet driver. But when Jody’s producer Gail (Hannah Waddingham) tells him Jody’s film is in trouble he jumps on a plane to Australia to help out. What he discovers is Jody’s leading man has disappeared. 

At one point in The Fall Guy we learn that Colt used to work on The Miami Vice Universal Studios stunt show. For those who have never experienced such a show, it is where a team of stunt people perform a wafer thin plot that revolves exclusively around a series of increasingly daring set pieces. This is essentially what The Fall Guy is.

Fall Guy director David Leitch is a former stuntman himself and where The Fall Guy excels is in its action. The set pieces are kinetic, endlessly fun and feel, unlike a lot of modern cinema, tangible and real without that computer game feel of CGI. Cars flipping, people falling, boats jumping and people ablaze this has it all. And it does so in a hugely enjoyable way. While the action is often jaw-dropping, it’s done with a sense of fun rather than jeopardy. This is thanks to wonderfully breezy dialogue that zips along as fast as the action. It also looks stunning, glossy and hued in a Jerry Bruckheimer era golden hour hue.

Where the film does falter is in trying to tie all these set pieces together. This is something acknowledged in the script as Colt tells the villain that there’s too much plot going on. It’s because up to this point there has been little. So for those hoping for a modern update on 1986’s F/X might feel short changed but it never takes anything away from the fun to be had.

Much of this fun, aside from the stunts, come from the two leads. Blunt continues to show why she’s a leading lady and more importantly needs to stay there. Her dry English delivery serves the film well in keeping the tone always tongue in cheek while also showing her to be the most competent character on offer, while all around are losing their heads. Gosling is, of course, typically charming. It’s these sort of roles that Gosling clearly loves, those ones that allow him to flex his natural comic timing. This is the Gosling of Crazy Stupid Love and The Nice Guys, that slightly larger than life bordering on slap-stick routine that never fails to entertain. 

The Fall Guy is a whole heap of fun, it’s just not a film that is going to last long in the memory for long after the credits have rolled. And in an era of disposable content you need to do something to stand out from the crowd. But go in with the intention of having an enjoyable experience and The Fall Guy does not disappoint. 

The Fall Guy, available to buy or rent at home now.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

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