“The Gray Man”

They say money can’t buy happiness, and it certainly can’t buy a decent movie. “The Gray Man,” a bloated, unremarkable action thriller from the Russo Brothers, makes a colossal waste of its massive $200 million budget. Here we go again with another substandard Netflix film that seems to take pride in its display of stunning mediocrity.

In what feels like a poor man’s Bourne, the film (based on the 2009 novel by Mark Greaney.) tells the story of a network of former criminals trained by the CIA. When their top asset Six (Ryan Gosling) uncovers the darkest secrets that lie within the Agency, he triggers a global hunt by a group of nameless assassins. With mercenary Lloyd Hansen (Chris Evans) hot on his trail, Six traverses the globe on a dangerous mission.

This is a by-the-numbers spy movie, with unsurprising plot devices that are at best too formulaic and at worst, defy all logic. The film further suffers from irritating, fast cutting and weirdly abrupt scene transitions that are startling and make no sense. An abundance of drone shots is a lazy directorial choice, and the dizzying, swooping bits are unpleasant and downright ugly. Tack on a PG-13 rating with bloodless violence and lackluster fight choreography, and even the action is lame.

So where did that astronomical $200 million budget go?

A good chunk of that money had to go towards hiring A-list actors. A movie with a cast as strong as this needs to be better. Gosling is good enough in the lead role, but Evans is grossly miscast. Instead of giving us a devilishly delicious bad guy, his performance is an exaggerated lampoon. This just goes to show you that megawatt star power doesn’t necessarily equate to enjoyable entertainment.

Another large portion of the budget must’ve been dedicated solely to the pyrotechnics department. The film has very little substance, unless you like fiery blasts. It starts with a wave of explosions and never lets up. I think something blows up approximately every 3.6 minutes. I’m kidding (I think), but it sure feels that way.

In a final flash of its middle finger to the audience, “The Gray Man” bows out with a finale that makes you feel like you wasted your time watching it (well, in fact, you did). It’s a dumb ending to a dumb movie, and this one fails at every turn.

By: Louisa Moore

5 comments

  1. I think this analysis was harsh and hardly the experience I had watching the film. Also, if you’re gonna use such elaborate dialogue throughout your critique maybe finish out strong and be consistent instead of your closer in the 3rd paragraph “… and even the action is lame.” Overall, I would give this critical analysis a 3/10 and that is generous.

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    1. But lame is the perfect descriptor! I am definitely not looking forward to the just-greenlit sequel, but I’m hoping it will be better. After all, it won’t take much. I’m glad you enjoyed the movie, and thank you for taking the time to share your comments. I do appreciate it!

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  2. Your review was clumsy. The film definitely miscast Carmichael with Rege-Jean Page, he unfortunately didn’t sell the role. Although, I do believe Hansen played by Evans was not intended to give “devilishly delicious bad guy” but rather “exaggerated lampoon”. Not sure if you’ve watched action films with comedic relief but that’s what seems to be lacking from your perspective. Also not sure how “unsurprising plot devices” can “defy all logic”. Claiming that the events in the film were too predictable, how would they then defy your expectations of reasonable sequences?
    Lastly, due to the frequent change of location in the film, the drone shots seemed only natural with quick scene transitions keeping the pace. A dumb explanation for a dumb review, and this one fails at every turn.

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