The Fall Guy (2024) – Review by Andrea Carnevali

The Fall Guy ⭐️⭐️⭐️

A down-and-out stuntman goes on a mission to find the missing star of his ex-girlfriend’s blockbuster film. On in cinemas now.

The Blockbuster season is officially open, with this action/rom-com loosely inspired by the 1980s TV show of the same name, starring Lee Majors (who incidentally, shows up in a rather pointless cameo right after the credits, so if you’re interested to see what the “Sixty-Million Dollar Man” looks like today, stay until the end).

In a time when action films are either sprawling epics, sequels of something you barely remember, or interconnected sagas of whatever the latest superhero or space adventure might be and for which you might even need a notepad to keep track of who’s who and where, it’s actually quite refreshing to find something that doesn’t require previous knowledge and can just be consumed without too much effort (ideally with a big bag of popcorn).

This is the kind of stuff Hollywood used to make a few decades ago: I’ve grown up watching so many versions of this. Most of them very disposable, but some quite entertaining too. And I guess in a nutshell, this is my review of the film “Disposable, but fun”.

Set in the world of Hollywood filmmaking itself, Fall Guy pays homage to all those unsung heroes who risk their lives in front of the cameras, to make those big A-list stars look good: the stunt performers.

The director himself, David Leitch, was a former stuntman, before turning to helm films like Atomic Blonde, Deadpool, and the recent Bullet Train.

Interestingly he’s also produced the John Wick films, which many considered to be responsible for reigniting the conversation about the importance of stunt work (versus CGI) and especially their lack of recognition when it comes to big awards, like the Oscars.

To be honest, the film is pretty light on any sort of commentary about the advent of the digital age or the challenges of such a job, preferring instead to use all this just as a pretext for a pretty basic action romp. Fall Guy unravels pretty much as you would expect, with one set-piece after another, without too many surprises along the way, stopping once in a while to let some of the romance through.

Ironically, for a movie that’s supposed to be all about those heroes behind the screen, the film mostly works thanks to the two main stars in front of the camera: Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt are clearly having a good time together, and their undeniable chemistry is what really keeps it all moving. In fact, it’s a shame that there isn’t more stuff with the two of them together.

Their bantering is fun and entertaining, though, to be honest, pretty sketchy and light-hearted, which in a way prevented me from ever becoming too emotionally involved.

The film never really takes itself too seriously, which in a way keeps it all light and fun in a very self-aware and self-referential sort of way, but also on the other hand, it exposes the lack of anything at stake, and after a while it risks of becoming a bit repetitive.

Never for one moment do you doubt that our hero could be in any serious danger, so all we are left with is just watching the stunt work, almost from a distance: most of it is well performed, perfectly filmed, but also it’s never particularly new, inventive, mind-blowing and dare-I say, not even too dangerous-looking (particularly when we think back to the above-mentioned John Wick saga).

People are blown up, set to fire, thrown out windows, but they always get up, which in a way pays a little bit of disservice to the actual real profession which it’s trying to pay tribute to.

It’s a film that doesn’t reinvent the wheel and that you shouldn’t really over-analyse and question, but it’s certainly pleasant and breezy enough for its two hours and six minutes of running time. Both my son and my wife seemed to have enjoyed it much more than I did, so I guess the fact that I have probably seen hundreds of this sort of things in the past must have played a part in my slightly muted response.

I’m also sure that by this time next month, I will struggle to remember a single moment in The Fall Guy, but hey, as I said, I was certainly never bored and I’m happy I saw it (though next time I might need a larger popcorn).

The film is out now in cinemas everywhere.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick, and a co-creator of the Chiswick In Film festival.

See all Andrea’s film reviews here: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali

Chiswick In Film festival: Chiswick In Film festival 2023

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

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