The Gray Man Review: Big-Budget Boredom From Netflix

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The Gray Man Review: Big-Budget Boredom From Netflix

With “The Gray Man” Anthony and Joe Russo have achieved something extraordinary.

The Avengers: Endgame directors took a cast of extremely appealing Hollywood A-listers — Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Bridgerton’s Regé-Jean Page — and turned them all into boring afterthoughts.

Movie review

Running time: 122 minutes. Rated PG-13 (intense sequences of violence and strong language). On Netflix.

It’s a truly amazing achievement. You just can’t believe you’re staring at megastars – they’re so bereft of individuality and charisma.

My Barista could have been cast as the lead in this action thriller, and the film would be absolutely no different.

Still, Netflix has spent a whopping $200 million ($50 million less than the budget for No Time To Die) on the visually gorgeous adaptation of Mark Greaney’s spy novels in hopes that it would serve as a model for a popular film series by James Bond begins. The Bourne Identity, Mission: Impossible, and John Wick.

Much luck! That’s an awfully big task if your film doesn’t have a strong main character.

Ryan Gosling plays Six on Netflix "The gray man."
Ryan Gosling plays Sierra Six in Netflix’s The Gray Man.
Paul Abell/Netflix

James Bond stars as King Lear alongside Sierra Six – played by a cold and reserved Gosling – a convicted killer whose sentence is commuted in exchange for him becoming a trained underground hitman for the CIA. He carries out secret unsavory missions for the government.

When Six is ​​lured into the gig by his handler, Donald Fitzroy (Billy Bob Thornton), he is told, “You will exist in the gray.”

Six answers: “Disposable?”

Yes indeed.

Skip forward 18 years. After a shady new handler (Page) directs him to kill another agent, Sierra Four, Six discovers his own life is also at risk from the CIA and goes on the run – with damaging information in tow.

Chris Evans plays the villain Lloyd Hansen.
Chris Evans plays the villain Lloyd Hansen.
AP

He is doggedly pursued around the world by a mercenary-turned agent named Lloyd Hansen (Evans, who chooses unassuming madness) and accompanied for a while by another wax figure named Dani (Armas, who does her best, Mrs. Cellophane). .

Six must also rescue Fitzroy’s young niece, who was kidnapped by Hansen.

The actors, while uniformly boring, aren’t entirely to blame for the shortcomings of their characters and the all-too-familiar Guy Goes rogue plot.

That would be the authors Joe Russo, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. Her story is typical, superficial, spy-loving Mad Libs. And they have everyone talking in annoying secret agent government jargon that is neither creatively stylized nor believable – like a judge yelling “order in court”! while furiously hitting with a hammer. Have a drink every time someone says “value.”

Rege-Jean Page and Ana de Armas are at odds as CIA agents.
Regé-Jean Page and Ana de Armas face each other as CIA agents.
Netflix

Also, the writers deny their characters any development, wealth or, really, any emotion. A high-speed rollercoaster of explosions with no one to process anything would be fine if Gray Man was a lot of fun, but it’s just a ho-hum travelogue with unremarkable fight scenes.

We’ll be whisked away to Bangkok, Vienna, Berlin and more. Bullets are fired endlessly; Punches are thrown. The viewer, meanwhile, longs for Keanu Reeves to roll in as John Wick and kill a guy with a library book. Please give us some panache.

Gray Man’s personality is fully embodied in his images, which – in certainly a deliberate departure from the title – are boldly colorful. An early sequence in Thailand is bathed in purple, red, blue and yellow and is a joy to record.

This style-substance disparity has become a recurring theme for the Russos’ post-Marvel career: showy magnificence coupled with a foul script.

The brothers are undeniably talented, but they have yet to prove they can make a good movie without Thanos and Tony Stark.

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