THE GRAY MAN is an interesting movie. It’s interesting because it has great directors (Russo Brothers, best know for the AVENGERS movies) great actors, great performances, and yet, a “meh” movie. So what happened?
THE GREY MAN starts with Billy Bob Thorton’s character, a grizzled CIA agent recruiting Ryan Gosling’s character into the CIA. The aforementioned becomes Agent 6, otherwise know as SIX. Fast forward a number of years, and now SIX is a well oiled assassin, that goes out on a routine mission, and learns too much. The movie is then set up that SIX has to save a hostage, bring down the bad guys in and out of the CIA, and ultimately, save the day.
if the CIA sounds like MI3, and if SIX sounds like 007, and if the plot sounds like a James Bond film, you would be correct. There is even a “wink-wink” nod to this in the movie. The Russo Brothers have no problem announcing that they want to make the American James Bond.
Gosling got RIPPED for the role and looks great. His dead-pan delivery is on display here as his portrayal of SIX. Chris Evens chews up the screen as the “rogue” independent contractor, maintaining his “Captain America” physique, with a mustache that steals the show. Billy Bob Thornton rounds out the main cast, with strong performances throughout.
Sounds good so far… well, kinda.
Unfortunately, the Russo Brothers seem to want to make a movie the scope of “Avengers: End Game” when it did not need to be. The action, the set, the locations, and the VFX eventually create a house of cards that collapses in on itself.
One of the worst parts of newer James Bond movies in general is locations. No one can possibly understand where they are (come on… point out on a map where these places are…) and how these characters GOT THERE. Did they drive there? Fly there? Or UBER there?
I miss the days of Indiana Jones where they actually SHOWED the plane on the map.
A quarter of the way through the movie, we are shown a 30 minute back-story on SIX, which actually worked. It was a tender portrayal of a man that got his life back, became a killer, and still managed to retain his soul.
It’s scenes like these that let let the Russo Brothers shine. Sure, bombastic action is hard to do, and they do it well, but character development is quite crucial.
The movie itself had a “bit” of a payoff, but not the impact that the directors probably wanted. It drags 3/4th of the way though, with a shot-up/train sequence that runs SO LONG, I was bored!
Previous reviewers have called this a “Boring Action Movie”. I disagree. This movie was not boring, just had some action that went too long, and GOT boring.
As I publish this review, this movie now has a spin-off and a sequel, which I am happy about. I’m not angry at “The Gray Man”, just disappointed. This movie COULD HAVE been great, which is why it’s so disappointing. I’m hoping that the Russo Brothers have learned that bigger mis not better.
Here’s hoping that SIX gets more character development and less totally impossible train sequences.
It’s worth a watch, just to see Chris Evans embrace his dark cheesy side.