Movie review: The Fall Guy

Leaving the stunt business over a year earlier after a near fatal accident, physically battered and mentally bruised Colt Seavers returns, only to be unwittingly pulled into a dark underworld that has become more dangerous than any of his previous death-defying stunts.

From action director David Leitch (Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2) and Universal Pictures comes a film that has been off and on by various parties since 2010 that originally had Dwayne Johnson in the title role. Now in collaboration with writer Drew Pearce (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation), Leitch and Gosling bring us “The Fall Guy” loosely based on the hit 80’s series starring Lee Majors, and Heather Thomas.

Brought back to life in 2020 the script was re-written by Gosling, Leitch and Pearce to bring up to date and better reflect our world of today’s brilliant yet unnerving facial A.I. technology. With principal photography beginning in September 2022 in Sydney, Australia at Disney Studios and wrapping before the ‘Barbenheimer’ phenomenon, the entire cast were blissfully unaware of the beautiful casting collision caused by the 2023 summer blockbuster double smash hit.

Starring Ryan Gosling as veteran stunt man Colt Seavers and rookie director Jody Moreno played by Emily Blunt, the casting could not be more perfect, with Blunt’s character originally written as a ‘make-up artist’ it was changed before she received the script to better reflect the changing industry whilst taking Greta Gerwig as her inspiration. Colt is brought back into the world of stunts by movie producer Gail Meyer played by Hannah Waddingham (Ted Lasso) to once again be Tom Ryder’s stunt double played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson in the fictional film within a film ‘Metalstorm’, a brash alien sci-fi that remains as the unsubtle backdrop. However, this time the stakes are higher as his reason for return seems to be far darker and more physical than Colt ever expected.

Also starring Winston Duke (Black Panther) as Dan Tucker, Colt’s stunt coordinator, Teresa Palmer (Hacksaw Ridge) as Iggy Starr, Ryder’s girlfriend and Alma Milan, Ryder’s assistant played by Stephanie Hsu (Joy Ride) plus many others, the casting is big and the budget of $130m is as big, with $44.5m from Australia’s Arts committee also used to fund an Australian cast of over 1000 and 3015 film extras. Despite glowing reviews by its audience and critics, The Fall Guy is struggling to break even, which frustratingly in this world means a loss, although early days.

 

The Fall Guy is in David Leitch’s words ‘A love letter to the stunt men and women in Hollywood’ and this could not be more the case. The film shines in its direction, style and colour. The club scene at the end of act one is graphically stunning with Colt’s neon green outfit and sprayed alcohol, with the slow-motion fight scenes are spot on and humorous at the same time creating the required lightness in the dark that does carry through. With following scenes of seeing unicorns through hallucination and karaoke sang purposefully without training to keep the feeling real the pacing is high octane which on the whole works extremely well.

With a great soundtrack that features such diverse tracks from AC/DC, Taylor Swift and Phill Collins, their use works brilliantly and captures the individual moments well in this well paced roller coaster.

Ryan Gosling did undertake one of his own stunts by falling 120 feet on a controlled winch slowing in the last 10 feet, and all with a single long shot whilst in conversation with Jody (Blunt) and incorporating the actual safety crew and indeed nailed it on the second take. With a high-octane 220-foot ramp jump across a ravine, helicopter stunts, and falling from them from a great height, the film delivers what is expected and then some whilst with the intent of the boy trying to get the girl weaving through the darker story. The action is intense, and the storyline becomes far darker than just the film initially portrayed with A.I. being used against the main star when a previous stuntman is found ‘on ice’ in his apartment.

The Fall Guy is a nod to the unseen action heroes without whom the film industry would very quickly grind to a halt. With a call to add the ‘Stunt person’ category into the Oscars next year, this film could potentially deliver on more than one front and rightly so. This film has quite rightly also gone down in Guiness history as Logan Holladay the real stand in for Gosling produces 8.5 cannon car roles on the Australian beach to break previous records.

The Fall Guy brings us the glory of the past and what should be the future without the common use of overused CGI whilst creating a great storyline that has far greater depth than expected.

 

 

 

 

Author: Piers, Maidstone Store

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