The Gray Man 2022 Movie Review
A non-stop thrill ride from beginning to end, “The Gray Man” boasts an impressive action set piece every ten to twenty minutes; so those with short attention spans – such as myself – can rejoice, as the Russo brothers have crafted a movie where viewer entertainment is top of mind.
Holding a staggering 52% rotten critic score on Rotten Tomatoes, it should come as no surprise that audiences, contrarian as they are, are highly enjoying this movie. And while I often find my own opinion to sway side to side like a pendulum from the critic score to the viewer consensus, in the case of “The Gray Man,” I am planted firmly with the audience. Admittedly, the critics, pretentious as they seem to be, may or may not have some valid complaints; the film can be said to have a lack of innovation and ingenuity with its storytelling, and in terms of its purported “bland” visuals, the movie is rather dark, which caused me to squint and strain my eyes in the theatre. Besides those two things, however, “The Gray Man” is a super solid action film that constantly pumps adrenaline into the veins of its viewers.
With the breathtaking, neon drenched opening sequence, you will immediately recognize that there is competency behind, and in front of, the camera. Ryan Gosling and the gorgeous Ana de Armas are thrust front and center in the introduction, and their stoic, serious performances also demonstrate a dedication to quality – this isn’t your typical Netflix production that’s meant to only be viewed on your laptop monitor. A masterclass in tension building, the opening action sequence alone will tell you all you need to know about “The Gay Man” – it delivers. Expertly helmed with smooth transitions from hiding in plain sight stealth to John Wick style shootouts and Bourne-esque hand-to-hand combat sequences, the first fifteen to twenty minutes of the movie contains some of the most exciting and impressive looking scenes of action that I’ve seen in a film, period. From Gosling silently taking out enemies in the midst of New Years fireworks to engaging in a fist fight in the middle of said fireworks display, my jaw was planted on the ground as soon as this movie started. And the intensity didn’t stop there.
A fight on a military aircraft that ends in a desperate dive back down to solid ground? Check. A city market shootout that turns into a city-wide car chase? Check. A sneaky house invasion that goes from quiet to guns blazing at the drop of a hat? Check. With “The Gray Man,” the Russo brothers put their talent of action on full display by making literally every single action sequence seem like it should be taking place at the climax of the film. After every set piece I found myself thinking, “Surely things can’t get any bigger from here,” and the next set piece always upped the ante and blew my expectations out of the water. The minimal use of shaky camera and hyperactive editing will also ensure a clear line of sight with most – if not all – of the action, empowering viewers to feel absolutely immersed in what’s occurring on screen.
Ryan Gosling is as handsome, muscular, and attractive as ever in his role as Six, a man who has a particular set of skills that you probably don’t want to be on the receiving end of. Foregoing the quiet hero performance that so many other movies wanted him to emulate, “The Gray Man” allows Gosling to be charismatic, a suave talker who is as smooth with his words as he is with his proclivity toward violence. Chris Evans also got jacked for his performance as Lloyd Hansen, a merciless killer who actively enjoys inflicting pain on others. The film pits Six and Lloyd against each other in a Evans v Gosling match up that I never even knew I wanted. Evans looks like he is having an absolute blast in his role, seemingly more comfortable playing a villain than he was as a superhero. And as a Gosling fan I may be a bit biased, but I of course thought he was great in the movie; there is no Oscar-worthy acting at play here, but it’s clear that everyone is playing their part professionally.
“The Gray Man” is a movie that is being lambasted by critics – that’s the only sign you need that it’s actually going to be good. This is a very thrilling action film that I am legitimately looking forward to watching again when it releases on Netflix. If you’re a fan of action movies, you cannot go wrong here. Sure, the film may have benefited by being a little bit brighter visually, and there were a few moments of iffy editing, but none of the cons overpower the astounding action pros.