The Gray Man, directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, has a lot of action. It is a story of an assassin with a heart of gold. Assassin Sierra Six (Ryan Gosling) is on the run after discovering a CIA agent’s criminal enterprise. However, he has to rush into danger to save his former boss’s niece. The film’s misplaced, weak dialogue, combined with too many jump cuts for action sequences, make The Gray Man feel like a generic cross between the Marvel universe and John Wick. That is not to say the film is horrible, but it is not good. The Gray Man feels like a filler movie made between projects because everyone was bored.
Sierra Six is an assassin for the government, recruited by Fitzroy (Billy Bob Thornton). CIA agent Carmichael (Regé-Jean Page) pushes Fitzroy out and has Sierra Six unknowingly assassinate a fellow Sierra assassin to hide damning evidence. Sierra Six keeps the evidence and winds up on the run as Carmichael recruits sociopathic Lloyd Hansen (Chris Evans) and sends fellow agent Suzanne Brewer (Jessica Henwick) to try and keep Lloyd in check.
Drab, Flat Dialogue
Superhero films can get away with cheesy dialogue and still shine because we watch to see a world far removed from our own and our favorite, established heroes and villains battle. Crooked government agents are not a stretch, but the dialogue will tear at your patience. It moves between boring and the kind that feels like a writer patting themselves for their wittiness, but looking back, it is all cringe. I am a writer, and I end up there often. Unfortunately, someone else did not step in to warn them because the conversations were nonsensical.
The acting is not bad per se, but out of place, particularly Ryan Gosling and Chris Evan’s characters. Ryan Gosling’s acting is good, but the dialogue does no favors. Chris Evan’s Lloyd Hansen does not seem threatening so much as comic relief. Ana de Armas as Dani Miranda and Alfre Woodard as Maurice Cahill stand out more because they had less terrible lines.
Too Many Edits In Fight Sequences
The gunfight portions and the supposed bounty everyone is trying to collect on Sierra Six remind me of John Wick. Yet, we only see one person attempt to cash in on the bounty. In the enlightening words of Lloyd Hansen, it is “ballsy” of the film to tease this and then not deliver. They must want audiences to imagine the magnitude of the danger for Sierra Six in The Gray Man without the substance of it in the film.
Ryan Gosling’s fight sequences look exhausted. Either the poor edits and jump cuts make it look that way, or they are trying to diminish it to no avail. The fights were lackluster. The trailer gave the impression of an epic battle, but Lloyd winds up shot in the ass. Most action is Sierra Six versus someone else. Except for Dani Miranda and Avik San’s (Dhanush) fights. They looked more explosive by comparison. As stated, the editing for the fights is one of the worse I have seen in a while. It is almost on par with The Doorman.
Implied Worldbuilding That We Do Not Need
The Gray Man is shallow entertainment that does little beyond the basic requirements for an action movie. Even those aspects are subpar. While I enjoy cast in their other films, The Gray Man falls flat at delivering entertainment. The film implies a sequel could happen, but I hope for everyone’s sake it does not. Lloyd Hansen looked like Chris Evans playing at being a villain. I am sure Chris Evans can play a villain, but this film was not it. The Gray Man is a forgettable filler that lacks the necessary parts to make a cohesive, memorable cinema experience. It is commendable when a bad film takes risks, but The Gray Man does not rise beyond its mediocre formula.