HOLLYWOOD—I have heard a lot and seen a lot of advertisements for the action-flick “The Gray Man.” The flick stars heartthrobs Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans and it’s directed by Anthony and Joe Russo. So you might be saying what’s the verdict on this Netflix feature? It is a solid action-flick, but it takes a bit of time to get its momentum moving. It starts a bit slow and then it starts moving and once it starts moving it has your attention until the final moments.
One thing “The Gray Man” has going for it is a stellar cast. Gosling and Evans both do fantastic jobs in their roles and carry a large portion of the narrative in particular Gosling, who the audience learns more and more about his character Sierra Six, a CIA black ops assassin who has a past that we learn more and more about through flashbacks throughout the film. Gosling brings a stoic demeanor to this guy who is elusive, yet dangerous, but remains calm under pressure at all times.
Evans on the flipside is the antagonist, who plays Lloyd a snarky CIA agent who has a penance for inflicting pain onto others. Evans I must say portrays a damn good villain. I mean his character in “Knives Out” was fun, but I got a similar tone with the character Lloyd here as well. The slight difference is he drops a few curse words and its more action and fighting in this flick. I would really like to see Evans travel down that dark-twisted path as a villain to show his versatility as an actor people.
As for that all-star cast it includes Ana de Armas, Jessica Henwick, Rege-Jean Page, Dhanush, Billy Bob Thornton, Julia Butters, Alfre Woodard, I mean I can continue if you like. “The Gray Man” works not just because of its two stars, but a slate of actors and actresses whose character each adds something to the narrative, the weave in and out of the story, but when they appear it gives the audience that additional nugget needed to keep the pacing moving. There isn’t a throwaway character for me and that tends to the case with many movies nowadays, but this script really tightens and develops its characters in a unique way. People that you presume to be good have ulterior motives; those who you know are bad, show glimmers of hope, so you have that intercepting dynamic to play with as well.
When it comes to the story, Six is at the catalyst of if all as he finds himself being hunted for some inside information that he has that the CIA wants back. That leads to the CIA Director, Denny Carmichael, played with a suave edge by Page to enlist the help of Lloyd to capture a man who has been deemed a ghost by many. Six has in his possession an encrypted drive that holds plenty of secrets, secrets the CIA does not want out in the public sphere, especially Carmichael.
The audience is dealing with a high-stakes game of cat and mouse and its explosive, it’s thrilling and has some epic fight sequences involving Gosling, de Armas, Evans, Dhanush, Thornton, Woodard and a host of others. I mean that climatic fight scene between Lloyd and Six was worth every single moment, because it was a no holds bars throw-down that involved bullets, blood, punches and knives. It is what a spectator wants when it comes to high-octane action. I didn’t have a sense that this flick could spawn a sequel or a franchise, but after the conclusion it started to seep into my brain, hmm, we could be looking at the next Jason Bourne saga people and how fun would that be.
“The Gray Man” is absolutely popcorn, summer blockbuster fun that takes a minute to rev up the engine, but once it starts going it’s a hell of a ride to the finish line where the stunts and action sequences are captured with care, ease and precision by two guys who know a thing or two about entertaining the audience and not apologizing for doing it.