Feeling A Little Gray About The Gray Man

Posted by Greg on Jul 27, 2022 in Movies |

This probably won’t come as a surprise to those that read this but this writer absolutely detests Netflix. The company that started in 1999 with direct-to-your-doorstep DVDs is a far cry from the behemoth it is today. And while there are signs of a slump, the streaming site is a megalith unto itself.

While the last few years have seen an increase in quality films released via Netflix, there’s still a massive amount of dreck vying for attention. The reality is Netflix gets very little, if any, screen time from this writer during the given week. Whether that’s a conscious decision or not is still being worked out but rare is the day I’ll sit down and watch a Netflix film.

Maybe that’s because Netflix is so damn overwhelming with its choices it seems almost impossible to find a place to start. Maybe it’s because it has helped shutter hundreds of indie theaters and big-box movie stores across the country. And maybe it’s just an aversion to what’s popular, but sure enough I was homebound Friday night and got an email that Ryan Gosling was starring in an action thriller via Netflix not unlike Matt Damon and the Jason Bourne franchise. As an admitted fan of both Gosling and the Bourne franchise I decided to give The Gray Man a shot. Now that it’s been viewed, I’m not really certain how one should feel.

The Gray Man, based upon a novel by Mark Greaney, unravels the yarn of a shadow CIA agent nicknamed Six (Ryan Gosling) who uncovers agency secrets and in turn is hunted the world over by a maniacal rogue operative (Chris Evans) who has put a bounty on Six’s head. There’s also a backstory involving Fitzroy (Billy Bob Thornton) who commuted Six’s prison sentence in the early 2000s and the niece Fitzroy looks after.

Was it fun? Yes. Were the crashes and gun fights exciting? Was there an abundance of globe-trotting destinations? Absolutely. But that’s really all there is to report. The dialogue is brisk, breezy and almost jocular and it does at times feel like the film doesn’t want to take itself too seriously. The Gray Man is directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, who to date have directed several Marvel movies and their verve towards light-hearted banter is in full force here. And yet despite the attempt at the light-hearted it still throws in a plot device about Fitzroy’s niece needing a pacemaker and Ryan Gosling being her caretaker. It’s all a bit hackneyed, superfluous and a bit much. But maybe that’s what people find appealing these days. How is this any different from watching Sharknado? Is this really why people pay as much as they do to watch Netflix? Turns out Netflix is already preparing a sequel and a series for The Gray Man.

The hits just keep on coming.

POST-SCRIPT: For an even better review, head here.


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