The Fall Guy movie review: Ryan Gosling, Emily Blunt rise to the occasion in this breezy, bumpy adventure | Hollywood - Hindustan Times
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The Fall Guy movie review: Ryan Gosling, Emily Blunt rise to the occasion in this breezy, bumpy adventure

ByDevansh Sharma
May 03, 2024 03:58 PM IST

The Fall Guy review: Ryan Gosling brings his signature Kenergy, Emily Blunt is back with impeccable comic timing in David Leitch's love letter to action films.

The Fall Guy movie review: David Leitch may have taken a page out of the book that was Quentin Tarantino's 2019 Oscar-winning period drama Once Upon A Time in… Hollywood, which depicts Brad Pitt's stuntman to Leonardo DiCaprio's movie star as the more heroic one, even in real life. Loosely based on the 1980s TV show of the same name, The Fall Guy features Ryan Gosling as a stuntman saving the day as the hero goes missing.

The Fall Guy movie review: Ryan Gosling plays a stuntman.
The Fall Guy movie review: Ryan Gosling plays a stuntman.

(Also Read – Emily Blunt reveals her daughters' reaction to Ryan Gosling's Ken-themed gift: 'They are so obsessed')

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Colt Seavers (Ryan) is a former stuntman, now on the sidelines because of a life-threatening back injury. He's soon brought back to a film set under mysterious circumstances – recruited by the producer Gail Meyer (Hannah Waddingham), a long-time friend and ally, to find Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), the missing hero whom he used to double for. His goal is to save the film, which marks the directorial debut of his ex-girlfriend Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt), a relationship that ended on a bitter note.

Colt is given the hero treatment here – even when he's introduced as the fallen guy with a back injury, he's presented as shirtless and drool-worthy. When he's brought back to perform cannon rolls in a car, he goes back to it with consummate ease. When he's told why he's been actually brought back, it's narrated to him with flair by the producer. And even when he's battered by a stunt on loop, the director explains to him the backstory for context.

Ryan Gosling as Colt Seavers in The Fall Guy
Ryan Gosling as Colt Seavers in The Fall Guy

How do Ryan and Emily fare?

Ryan Gosling gets the memo right again. His role as the stuntman is quite similar to his recent turn as Ken in Greta Gerwig's Barbie. He's a tough, ripped guy on the exterior with a bleeding heart. Ryan balances the impressive charisma of an action star with the endearing appeal of a man hopelessly in love. Only he could hit that sweet spot when he confesses it hurts every time he's hit, he crashes, and he's put on fire, but heartache hurts the most. And he does fall – as many times as probably Keanu Reeves in the John Wick franchise – but the signature Kenergy makes Colt Seavers rise to the occasion every time.

Speaking of Greta Gerwig, seeing Emily play a director here is heartening. And not just any filmmaker, but one directing a Dune-like sci-fi action epic (heck, they even use Hans Zimmer's signature tune). A year after a woman director scored the only $1 billion hit, it's about time the leading lady is cast as a blockbuster filmmaker, not just a make-up artist, as initially planned. Emily even combines Greta's unassured quirkiness with her impeccable comic timing to make Jody endlessly watchable. She also gets her hands dirty with some smooth action sequences, but it's refreshing to see her return to her comic roots. Remember The Devil Wears Prada?

Emily Blunt as Jody Moreno
Emily Blunt as Jody Moreno

Romance at the heart of action

It's not just Ryan and Emily who are pushing their boundaries. Director David Leitch, best known for sleek action comedies like Atomic Blonde (2017), Deadpool 2 (2018), Hobbs & Shaw (2019), Nobody (2021), and most recently, Bullet Train (2022), seamlessly integrates the stunts and the laughs, but he also gently blends in the romance. Ryan and Emily are absolutely electric in their scenes together – with the casual flirting, suppressed blushing, and magnetic sparring. It's a sight to see Emily drive the car and plan the next move with Ryan hanging on to the camera crane attached – it's what love stories on film sets are made of. The director hurling the hero into the villains to save the day – that's how movies are made.

Love for movies, particularly action movies, keeps dripping from The Fall Guy. Quoting Sylvester Stallone's 1976 cult film Rocky is the ultimate tool to emotionally manipulate a stuntman into taking the leap again. A Miami Vice jacket is a stuntman's chosen costume. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's WWE move is invoked during a brawl. Very predictably, Julia Roberts' movies Notting Hill and Pretty Woman are interchanged by a stuntman while wooing his girlfriend with rom-com references. The movie even pays a hat tip to the TV show it's inspired from – via cameos by the original star cast and the series' theme, Unknown Stuntman, playing during the end credits. Footage of Ryan's real-life stuntman Logan Holladay scoring a Guinness World Record for maximum cannon rolls is also shown as a tribute to all the daredevil real-life heroes.

Ryan Gosling is paired with Emily Blunt in The Fall Guy
Ryan Gosling is paired with Emily Blunt in The Fall Guy

The Fall Guy pulls off the movie-within-a-movie stunt very well. There's a hint of self-awareness in the air, but there's also the urge to tell your own story instead of only relying on a mishmash of spoofs or tributes. When director Jody explains the backstory to Colt's stuntman in the middle of a massive action set piece, it's not just a commentary on the method filmmaking some directors are famous for. It's also her way of telling him what went wrong between the two and how he can fix it. It's deeply romantic and, at the same time, viscerally painful. Just like falling in love all over again. Just like putting yourself on fire to make the hero look better.

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