mon 22/07/2024

The Gray Man, Netflix review - the Russo brothers explore big-bang theory | reviews, news & interviews

The Gray Man, Netflix review - the Russo brothers explore big-bang theory

The Gray Man, Netflix review - the Russo brothers explore big-bang theory

Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans enjoy themselves in cacophonous spy romp

Danger man: Ryan Gosling as Court Gentry, alias Sierra Six

Directed by the fraternal duo Anthony and Joseph Russo, who have helmed several of the colossally successful Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, The Gray Man ought at least to be entertaining and stuffed with blockbusterish thrills.

And it is, darting around the world as it tells its amusing but wildly implausible story of two battling hitmen. The Russo boys would have a panic attack if anyone accused it of being a work of exquisite sensibility and artistic finesse, but there’s no need to worry on that score.The Gray Man, NetflixNothing about The Gray Man (based on Mark Greaney’s novel) is original, and it may even have been conceived as a kind of parodic mash-up of Jason Bourne, James Bond, Mission: Impossible and John Wick. In a nutshell, ace CIA operative (is no-one ever just an agent any more?) Court Gentry, codenamed Sierra Six, stumbles across some dark secrets in the course of one of his assassination missions. To Gentry’s shock, his target is a fellow… er… operative, whose dying gift to him is a memory stick containing incriminating evidence of treachery and skulduggery inside the Agency. Gentry’s possession of said memory stick instantly paints a giant target on his back as swarms of assassins come after him with murderous intent.

The Gray Man develops into a series of ferocious set-pieces in a list of opulent locations (Bangkok, Monaco, Hong Kong, Chiang Mai, London). It all boils down to Sierra Six’s non-stop battle with Lloyd Hansen, a psychotic ex-CIA man now hired to exterminate Six and retrieve the incriminating evidence.

Happily, some smart casting helps the Russos make the most of their material, not least Bridgerton star Regé-Jean Page as CIA bigwig Denny Carmichael. Ryan Gosling is excellent value as Six, stepping through the trail of corpses and smoking wreckage with an insouciant air and a metaphorical raised eyebrow. Nothing can ruffle his laconic composure, even when he’s trapped aboard a blazing Hercules transport aircraft as it falls apart in mid-air or is being punctured with stab-wounds by an acrobatic assassin in a rather gaudy suit (played by Bollywood star Dhanush).

He also gets some nice deadpan dialogue, sometimes with his agent-buddy Dani (Ana de Armas, pictured above with Page). “What did he give you?” she asks. “An encrypted drive.” “What’s on it?” “It’s encrypted.”

The Gray Man, NetflixAlmost as good is Chris “Captain America” Evans as the deranged, moustachioed Hansen (pictured right), who relishes nothing more than (for example) pulling out the fingernails of Six’s old Agency mentor Donald Fitzroy (Billy Bob Thornton). As fastidiously groomed as a Gucci runway model, Hansen sets about his task with narcissistic obsessiveness, gradually calling in more and more massively-armed reinforcements in his determination to crush the pesky Six. This reaches its apogee with a colossal onslaught in Prague, featuring ever-larger weapons and the obliteration of a train, assorted vehicles and some buildings. “You want to make an omelette, you got to kill some people,” Hansen reasons.

This is the kind of movie critics may be inclined to dismiss, but it tickles the tastebuds of viewers who like some bangs for their buck, an adrenalin blast and a few jokes.

It will tickle the tastebuds of viewers who like some bangs for their buck, an adrenalin blast and a few jokes


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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