Grey Man Review: Gosling and Evans Franchise Starter is Fun


The latest attempt by Netflix to create a blockbuster in the genre of action was “The Gray Man”, based on the 2009 spy thriller by Mark Greeney. For “Grey Man,” directors Anthony and Joe Russo reunite with several of their Marvel Cinematic universe collaborators, including screenwriters Christopher Marcus and Stephen McFeely, as well as Captain America Chris Evans himself. For his second directorial work after the completion of Phase 3 of the MCU with the film “Avengers: Finale”, Russo gathered a stellar cast: Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas, Reg-Jean Page, Billy Bob Thornton and Dhanush. “Grey Man” is a spiritual throwback to the action movies of the 80s and 90s with breathtaking action scenes, delightfully cheesy dialogue and a terribly funny villain.

In The Grey Man, Gosling plays the action hero Sierra Six, a member of a secret CIA group consisting of ex-criminals recruited by Donald Fitzroy (Thornton) to commit unofficial murders. When Danny Carmichael (Paige) of the CIA hires a Sixth to eliminate the target, the mission turns out to be more difficult than expected. The sixth is forced to flee, leaving Carmichael to summon the psychopathic mercenary Lloyd Hansen (Evans). Six enlists the help of old friends such as former CIA ally Margaret Cahill (Alfrey Woodard), and gets help from CIA agent Dani Miranda (de Armas) to survive all the assassins Hansen has cast to hunt him, including the formidable Avik San (Dhanush). Although the Sixth is one of the best CIA agents, it remains to be seen whether he will be able to escape from this situation, saving his life and saving Fitzroy’s niece Claire (Julia Butters) at the same time.

The story of the Grey Man, adapted by Marcus and McFeely, is a bit confusing, and the film glosses over much of the CIA’s policy related to the Sierra program, instead focusing on the actions and revealing the identities of its characters, especially Gosling. Six and Lloyd Evans. The script itself is full of silly jokes, including, but not limited to, the comment that Gosling looks like a Ken doll, and the order to “make him dead.” All of this is presented by Evans with the right amount of panache, who is fiendishly electric in the role of a sociopathic villain. Gosling’s six balances Lloyd’s outrageous personality with a more persistent and lively action hero, but he is no less interesting. In fact, when Gosling and Evans go face to face — with taunts or fists —these are the most exciting scenes in “The Gray Man.” The Roussos knew what they were doing when they hired Evans and Gosling, and the actors deftly performed roles that seem deliberately ironic rather than overly gloomy.

In addition to Gosling and Evans, the Grey Man has an outstanding supporting cast that helps convey the thrilling action and personality that make the film so interesting. The supporting actors don’t have much work to do, but each of them does a good job with what they have. De Armas brings some depth to Dani as she works alongside Gosling’s Six, and certainly proves her fighting skills after being underused in “No Time to Die.” Thornton, Woodard and Butters are good in their supporting roles, but they don’t necessarily outshine the stars. Dhanush, on the other hand, stands out in the “Grey Man”. Although he has a small role, his character is fiercely violent and turns out to be a terrifying enemy for the Sixth. His screen presence is such that Dhanush’s fighting scenes are among the best in the film. However, if there are victims of the Gray Man’s script, it’s Paige as Danny and Jessica Henwick as Suzanne, both of whom fail to find the right tone for the film, and they are not helped by their own ridiculous dialogues.

In general, the Russo brothers made an exciting summer popcorn movie with a Gray Man, which is emphasized by the charismatic performance of Gosling and Evans. As for Netflix releases, the film is similar to “6 Underground” and “Red Notice,” both of which are directed by Ryan Reynolds, and has a similar sensibility in terms of being a global action/adventure film, but with an emphasis on espionage. Moreover, “The Grey Man” does not rely on a certain kind of Reynolds humor, but plays to the various strengths of Gosling and Evans in terms of comedy. While Netflix viewers may have their own opinions, “The Grey Man” seems to be a step ahead of the streamer’s past action movies, offering more immersive action scenes, noisier humor, and a more engaging movie experience.

Thus, “The Gray Man” is certainly worth watching for anyone who is at least remotely interested in history, actors or filmmakers. Because of the superbly executed battle scenes, those who can will succeed in watching the Grey Man in cinemas as it enhances the experience.