Wednesday 27 July 2022

REVIEW: The Gray Man (2022) - Starring Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans and Ana de Armas

Review by Jon Donnis
I always find it fascinating that Netflix will put down $200m for a movie, then basically keep it only for Netflix subscribers. I guess they have money to burn, as I don't think anyone is specifically subscribing to Netflix to see just one film, and if they did they would probably take advantage of a free trial period.

Anyway, The Gray Man is the newest addition to the Netflix line up, and stars Ryan Gosling as "Sierra Six", a CIA black ops assassin who is forced to go on the run after uncovering incriminating secrets about the agency, and Chris Evans as Lloyd Hansen, a psychopathic former CIA agent who is contracted by CIA bosses to capture Six.

The film starts in 2003 with Senior CIA official Donald Fitzroy (played by Billy Bob Thornton) visiting a convicted murderer in prison, the murderer killed his abusive father in 1995, to protect his brother. Fitzroy offers the murderer freedom, but there is a catch, he will have to work as an assassin for the CIA's Sierra program. These assassins work off the books, and take out enemies of the State with no questions asked. The murderer (Ryan Gosling ) agrees and takes the codename Sierra Six. (Basically, known now as Six throughout the film).

Fast forward to 2021 and Six finds himself on a mission in Bangkok, he is told he has to assassinate someone who has been selling national security secrets to enemies of the country. Six is working alongside Dani Miranda (Ana de Armas), as he is about to assassinate the target, a child walks into view, so he holds back, despite his bosses ordering him to take out the target and that the child is acceptable collateral damage. He fakes a gun jam, and moves in to take out the suspect in close quarters instead, after pulling a fire alarm. He takes down the suspect, but before he dies he reveals he worked for the same people who hired Six, and that he was known as Sierra Four, he then hands him an encrypted USB drive hidden in a necklace, and tells him it has details of the corruption of CIA Official Denny Carmichael (RegĂ©-Jean Page), Carmichael is also the lead agent on this mission and Six's boss. When Carmichael is elusive about why this man was to be assassinated, Six refuses evacuation and escapes.

The CIA realise that Six is a problem and now need to take him out. Carmichael hires mercenary Lloyd Hansen, a former CIA agent who was kicked out of the agency for his psychopathic tendencies. It is up to him to track down Six, and retrieve the USB drive.

What follows is a nonstop 2-hour action film, that really does have everything, double crosses, hand to hand fights, car chases, shoot outs, young kid being kidnapped, you think of the action film cliche scene and this film has it.

Ryan Gosling is strong in the lead, and pulls off the calm sort of good guy killer role very well. Chris Evans is excellent as psychotic Lloyd Hansen, you know he is psychotic because he wears a moustache, and the rest of the cast is just full of big-name stars.

The Good
If you like big action, big budget films, then this really does tick all the boxes. Strong characters all around, the multiple fight scenes never get repetitive and they do a good job of changing things up.

The Bad
Sometimes it does all seem a bit too much, and the whole one vs the world story has been done a million times before, and when you have one man taking out what seems like a never-ending queue of bad guys, you might find yourself rolling your eyes slightly.

I like a big budget action film, and this really did satisfy my genre needs.

I score The Gray Man a solid 7/10.

Out now on Netflix.