The Gray Man ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2 Review by Andrea Carnevali
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. Out in cinemas today.
Loosely adapted from Mark Greaney’s novel from 2009 and with an estimated budget of $200m (one of the most expensive films ever made by Netflix), this spy/action film steals from all those Bourne, Bond, Mission Impossible flicks we’ve seen many times before. It’s full of spy clichés, basic exposition and has a plot which could be written on the back of a stamp, but who cares when the action is so exciting!
The Russo Brothers, who have previously directed the latest Avengers, which made them the most successful movie makers in history, throw everything they can at the audience to make sure that every dollar of the huge budget will show on the screen.
And you know what? It does show! Flying drones (though a bit random and pointless, but very dynamic), incredible chases, massive explosions, relentless fights, loud shootouts and so many locations all around the world to shame even James Bond himself.
And talking about de-throning Bond, there’s a spectacular and rather insane action scene in Prague about half-way through the film, which seems to go on forever and it’s probably one of the most exciting chases I’ve seen in while.
Basically, if action is all you want, this is definitely one for you, but please, don’t take it too seriously, otherwise it’ll fall to pieces.
Yes it’s derivative, it makes very little sense, it’s predictable and it’s got a video-game sensitivity throughout, but it is still a lot fun!
The whole thing is also further elevated by the presence of Mega-stars Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans.
Gosling plays Sierra Six, a CIA mercenary who after uncovering murky secrets about the agency he works for, becomes the primary target. On the run, he is hunted by Lloyd Hansen (Chris Evans), a moustachioed sociopath assassin who will stop at nothing to get his man.
Clearly the former Captain America is having the time of his life with this role, turning up all the knobs to 11. He’s so over the top that one cannot help laughing. In contrast, Gosling’s detached and deadpan delivery brings a different kind of humour to the hero and in the process makes him even more charming that he already is.
The cast also includes Ana de Armas, Billy Bob Thornton and Alfre Woodard.
The original novel has spawned multiple sequels, so it’s safe to bet that the Russo brothers are aiming to create another franchise. Whether the huge spectacle can translate on the smaller screen of Netflix remains to be seen.
Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.
The Gray Man is out in cinemas today.
See all Andrea’s film reviews here: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali
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