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The Fall Guy

The Fall Guy




Rated PG-13 - for action and violence, drug content and some strong language.
Director: David Leitch
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emily Blunt, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Teresa Palmer, Hannah Waddingham, Winston Duke
Running Time: 2 hours, 6 minutes
Theatrical Release Date: May 3, 2024

READER RATING:   


Plot Summary

A down-and-out stuntman must find the missing star of his ex-girlfriend's blockbuster film. (from IMDB)


Film Review

The Fall Guy may have been a TV series, starring Lee Majors, way back in the 80s, but it highlighted the unsung heroes of the film industry: The stuntmen. Director David Leitch was a stuntman himself who wanted to make a feature film loosely based on the popular TV series in an effort to bring more attention to these life-risking stars. The film follows renowned stuntman, Colt Seavers, who disappears after an accident leaves him with a serious back injury. He's called back to work a year and a half after the accident when his frequent producer, Gail, enlists his help for the debut film from director Jody Banks who used to be Colt's serious girlfriend. But as Colt tries to settle into his job on Jody's movie, he's tasked with tracking down the lead actor who has suddenly gone missing. In the process, he's pulled into a dangerous mystery that has him risking his life in a whole new way.

The Fall Guy
The Fall Guy is that kind of blockbuster action film that feels like a real summer movie. Its release in May is fitting, too, as the film boasts two popular, attractive Hollywood stars in Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt, and more stunts and action than your typical action flick. The world of The Fall Guy is tongue-in-cheek if not completely meta, as Cole finds himself in stunt-heavy action sequences in his real life, which has Gosling often replaced by an actual stuntman in reality, too. It's stunts within stunts and elaborate action sequences that really push the boundaries of what we know would be the normal role of a stuntman. And even as Cole is acting out stunts for Jody's film, we see huge stunts acted out before our very eyes that are also stunts for the very movie we're watching. It's a bit mind-twisting, but David Leitch is clearly pulling out all the stops and having an absolute blast doing it. It's a movie dedicated to stuntmen everywhere and tailormade for the viewers who just love action movies. Leitch also wraps it in a fun, comedy-heavy packaging, and has no problem with going over-the-top several times.

First, the good. The movie is just plain fun. The romantic aspect of the story is sweet and vulnerable, if not even wholesome, as we know Colt and Jody are made for each other, but Colt's response to his back injury pushes the two apart for a time. As they reunite, it's not this bitter, angry, drawn-out backlash that bombards the audience with one "I'm too hurt to talk to you" type scene after another. Yeah, there's some of the expected tension when they reunite, but it's made very clear that both parties here are wrestling with their feelings but willing to work things out. It makes the romantic storyline bearable, if not enjoyable to watch. (Plus, let's face it; Blunt and Gosling are pretty cute together in this, so it's super easy to root for the two here.) Gosling is great in the leading role as a cool but down-to-earth kinda guy who just happens to be awesome at stuntwork. And because of his years of experience acting out fights and knowing how to sort-of "safely" take a fall, when his real-life action sequences breakout, he's got the skills for defending himself. Gags about props, taking hits, and any number of using everyday objects during a fight sequence flood the film, and it's just one big enjoyable feast for the eyes.

The Fall Guy
Now the not-so-good. There's a steady, consistent stream of profanity throughout the movie, that is most frequently the "S" word, but also includes one or two uses of the "F" word and the occasional instance of blasphemy. It's definitely unnecessary. Otherwise, the finale kind of devolves into a rather silly, over-the-top extravaganza that almost seems as goofy as the beach fight in Barbie (or the news team fight from Anchorman), or much-too-much like this year's Argylle. The movie starts out pretty grounded (much like Argylle did), but continues to up the ante and go for hightened reality until there's no semblance of reality left (also like Argylle). Still, most of the silliness happens around our heroes (with them often reacting to it), instead of directly involving them (unlike Argylle), and even though the climax ends up being much-too-much, it isn't quite enough to derail the film entirely or invalidate everything that came before it.

The Fall Guy is surprisingly a bit of a slowburn. At first, the story goes heavy into the romance between Colt and Jody and the drama the follows Colt's accident. It makes for a slow intro, but once the action sequences intrude on Colt's personal life - starting with a drug-fueled club action sequence - the movie launches into a full-on action movie with a reluctant hero out in front.

The Fall Guy
Aside from the hefty amount of cussing (with over 30 uses of the "S" word leading the pack), there is some subtle sexual content that is mostly left to a few suggestive remarks, but it's nothing explicit. Amidst the unending string of violence in the second half of the film, most of it isn't very graphic, but we do see a dead person in a bathtub with their eyes open and blood on their temple. Later we see a video of a person lying on the ground dead after accidentally hitting their head. And at one point, Colt is seen strapped to a chair and being beated with blood streaming down his whole face (and a nasty cut on the bridge of his nose). Other characters sustain some bloody injuries to their faces, and we briefly see a character get stabbed in the leg with a pen and it sticking out of the wound. In an end credits scene, we also see someone get consumed in explosions around them. Again, it's a super violent movie, but most of it is done to showcase elaborate stunts for stunts' sake, and isn't meant to be ultra graphic.

The Fall Guy is a big, fun summer movie that you just can't take seriously (and shouldn't). Due to its focus on the art of film industry stuntwork, the movie goes to great lengths to honor the men and women who help some of the biggest - and some of your favorite - movies come to fruition by standing in for the stars to make a scene come to life. If you love a good action movie, or especially one that has a decent helping of romance mixed in, then The Fall Guy is right up your alley.

- John DiBiase (reviewed: 5/3/24)

 

 

Parental Guide: Content Summary


. Sex/Nudity: When Jody tries to get Colt to publicly explain why he ghosted her after his injury, she makes suggestive remarks about having had a series of wild flings with other men in the aftermath; Jody and Colt are shown making out in flashbacks a couple times, and passionately kissing in other scenes; A dead man in a bathtub appears to be naked except for piles of ice covering any explicit nudity; In a long scene, Ryder is wearing an overcoat with no shirt on and his pants are riding a bit low in the front.
. Vulgarity/Language: 2 "F" words, 33 "S" words, 6 "g*dd*mn," 4 "b*tch," 3 "p*ssy," 3 "a" words, 2 "*ssh*le," 1 "d*ck," 2 "d*mn," and roughly 7 "Oh my G-d," 3 "G-d," 1 "Oh G-d," 3 "h*ll," 1 "J-sus Chr-st," 3 "J-sus," and about 3 instances where some flips-off the middle finger in a vulgar way (sometimes with both hands).
. Alcohol/Drugs: Characters are frequently seen drinking throughout the film, including in bars; Colt takes a sip of a drink at a club during his investigation, but it ends up being laced with a pretty powerful drug. We see him struggling with its effects - in a comedic way - for a few scenes afterwards;
. Blood/Gore: We briefly see a surgical scar on a man's back; Colt finds a dead man in a bathtub filled with ice. His eyes are open and there is blood on the side of his head; Colt has a cut on his cheek after a fight scene; A man is strapped to a chair and beaten. We see most of this after he's already taken quite a beating off screen, and there's a deep gash on the bridge of his nose with blood all over his face and his shirt is soaked red with blood around the collar; A man has some blood on his mouth after being punched in the face.
. Violence: Lots of action violence; A stuntman is strapped into wires and dropped from a great height. The screen cuts to black as he falls and the next scene shows him on a hospital gurney; During the filming of a movie, we see Colt being lit on fire and thrown against a rock multiple times; We see explosions on a movie set go off, startling crew members; Colt is attacked by several thugs in a bar and we see their fight in slow motion as he fights back and beats some of them with a champagne bottle; Colt kicks down a locked door; Colt finds a dead man in a bathtub filled with ice. His eyes are open and there is blood on the side of his head; A woman attacks Colt with a sword and the two fight in an apartment, causing a lot of damage; Colt fights several guys inside an apartment, with lots of destruction and fights with actual movie props. At one point, a character is shot at with a gun that contains blanks (unbeknownst to the shooter). The "victim," knowing the gun contains only blanks, fakes being shot and falls over; While being shot at, a character runs across a rooftop and jumps a great distance onto a nearby yacht; Some men kidnap a woman, so Colt and a dog that knows attack commands pursue the kidnappers. He catches up to their vehicle and a fight breaks out on the vehicle while on the move. A man and Colt punch each other repeatedly while clinging to a truck's cargo tank, which is also spinning while being dragged by the truck. Meanwhile, the girl inside the truck's cab is fighting the men there, and she kicks one of them out of the movie vehicle onto the street; A man goes flying through a windshield and lands in the street when a truck stops abruptly; A dog bites men in the crotch a few times during the movie; A man is strapped to a chair and punched in the face repeatedly. He's then doused with gasoline and threatened to be lit on fire. He deliberately gets some gasoline in his mouth, which he spits at his attacker when they go to light him on fire. It causes the fire to blow back on his attacker and he fights to get away on a boat; We see a boat crash into a group of oil drums and explode, presumably killing a person; A woman attacks a man in a costume and beats him repeatedly with nearby objects, like a phone for example. She also stabs him in the leg with a pen (which he pulls out); A woman hits a man with a metallic prop; A huge fight breaks out involving crewmembers of a film and a few attackers; We see a film set with staged action sequences being filmed; A man jumps onto a helicopter to fight a few people on board. At one point, he punches a man in the face who claims his nose is now broken; Earlier in the film, we see a car roll stunt where a car crashes while containing a stunt driver; We see a car making a very dangerous long distance jump. When it lands, it flips and crashes, knocking out one of the passengers; In a mid-credits scene, we see a man wander into a stunt-explosion area and get consumed with smoke and flames from an explosion (possibly killing him); The film end credits also show a lot of real stunts being performed by stuntmen during the filming of this movie; And there is still lots of other action violence seen during the film.

 

Disclaimer: All reviews are based solely on the opinions of the reviewer. Most reviews are rated on how the reviewer enjoyed the film overall, not exclusively on content. However, if the content really affects the reviewer's opinion and experience of the film, it will definitely affect the reviewer's overall rating.

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