Monday, July 25, 2022

The Gray Man (2022)

Streaming Service: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: The Gray Man (2022)
Genre: Action, Thriller
Length: 2h 2min
Rating: PG-13
Production/Distribution: AGBO, Netflix, Roth Films, Roth/Kirschenbaum Films, Stillking Films
Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writers: Mark Greaney, Joe Russo, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Actors: Alfre Woodard, Ana de Armas, Billy Bob Thornton, Callan Mulvey, Chris Evans, Dhanush, Jessica Henwick, Julia Butters, Rege-Jean Page, Ryan Gosling, Scott Haze, Wagner Moura
IMDb Blurb: When the CIA's most skilled operative-whose true identity is known to none-accidentally uncovers dark agency secrets, a psychopathic former colleague puts a bounty on his head, setting off a global manhunt by international assassins.

Selina’s Point of View:
The Gray Man was everything I hoped it would be. It was loud, pulse-pounding, turn-your-brain-off escapism. It didn’t reinvent any wheels, but it used a beloved recipe to put out something worth watching.
From the beginning, I knew the people involved would be able to elevate The Gray Man. It had the possibility of going a slow, basic route, but with the Russo brothers (Avengers: Endgame, Community, Happy Endings) at the helm I knew that was very unlikely. Then you need consider the cast.
My favorite Ryan Gosling (The Nice Guys, Crazy Stupid Love, Only God Forgives) type cast is as the sarcastic and laconic protagonist. The way he portrays his personality through short responses is such a recognizable characteristic of his, that I associate him with the style regardless of what actor is utilizing it. It’s an automatic reminder of him, and no one does it better. I think, in this case, it gave something unique to his character that would have been missing if he was played by someone else.
Chris Evans (Lightyear, Don’t Look Up, The Avengers) as a hero would have been easy. Even in Knives Out (2019), when he did play an antagonist, he was still charismatic. It’s rough to take Evans and makes him dislikable. Somehow, The Gray Man manages. There’s no way to sympathize with the psychotic Lloyd Hansen. He is the epitome of a bad guy. There’s no questioning if he might be in the right at any point, but you still enjoy seeing him on screen. It’s a good balance.

Ana de Armas (Deep Water, No Time To Die, Blade Runner 2049) has an innocence to her that works well to mask the bad-assery. Her on-screen sense of humor also has a sarcastic core. As a result, she works well with Gosling. She gives as good as she gets, and steals the scene in some cases.
Even supporting actors, like Danush (Karnan, Pattas, Atrangi Re), Jessica Henwick (Bus Girl, Moley, The Matrix Resurrections), Billy Bob Thornton (Goliath, 1883, A Million Little Pieces), Regé-Jean Page (Bridgerton, Mortal Engines, The Sandman), and Alfre Woodard (Fatherhood, Clemency, Luke Cage) owned the screen at various moments. Just about every actor felt like a giant at some point.
There were a few laughs, but not enough to start pushing The Gray Man toward comedy. The humor was used sparingly in the script and gave just enough relief that it never felt out of place.
In the end, it was such a joy to watch, that I forgot to take notes. There was never enough time to look away from the screen to jot things down even if I had remembered. It was 2 hours of heavy-action fun.
I hear it’s going to be made into a series, and I will be watching everything that comes next. 

Cat’s Point of View:
I was excited enough about The Gray Man to list it as my #2 on July’s Top 20, and this easily could have been a #1 pick – if not going up against an MCU movie. Netflix got the most literal and figurative bang out of every single one of the $200 million-ish that they spent on this production. It was impressive from start to finish.
When I watched Ryan Gosling’s interview on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (2014-) the other night, I really just thought they were being silly when they joked about how much action was packed into The Gray Man. It went without saying that there was going to be a lot going on. This movie was set up to be Netflix’s summer action blockbuster, after all. They weren’t just being tongue in cheek when they said " about action, on top of action, on top of action, and then more action!..."
Every sequence had my pulse pounding and scooting ever closer to the edge of my seat. The fight choreography was insane. The chase scenes were on par with something you could expect from The Fast and the Furious (2001) saga, or a 007 movie. There were shoot-outs, explosions, and crashes – you name it. I didn’t really have a moment to catch my breath.
Of course, a movie full of action could still fall flat if there isn’t a good story, believable characters, and interesting dialogue to go with it. The Gray Man had all of those things.

I am still laughing every time I think of some of the banter from Gosling and Chris Evans. I was happy that the bits shown in the trailer weren’t the only gems the production boasted.
Let me tell you, Evans is outright terrifying as a villain. Lloyd of the ‘trash stache’ in The Gray Man might be a wise-cracking sociopath that was easy to laugh with – but Evans sold that character in a way that sent chills along my spine at a few points.
Ana de Armas was also an absolute badass here. Her role was just as physically challenging as the male leads and she utterly killed it. Honestly, I can’t think of a single questionable performance in the entire project. I adored Alfre Woodard, Billy Bob Thornton was on point, Jessica Henwick didn’t disappoint, and Regé-Jean Page was gloriously insidious.
While the book that The Gray Man was adapted from is part of a series, I’m gathering that there are no clear plans at this time for a sequel. The Russo Brothers have gone on record, however, saying that they approached this movie as if it were part of a franchise – so there could potentially be a chance for a return to this world of CIA operatives in the future. I sincerely hope so.
In the meantime, I’m likely going to be watching The Gray Man several more times – before the summer is even over. If you have access to Netflix, this is definitely one to add to your watch list ASAP.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 48%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score –90%
Metascore – 49%
Metacritic User Score – 6.1/10
IMDB Score – 6.6/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating –5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 5/5
Movie Trailer:

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