Tag Archives: The Fall Guy

Man On Fire

The Fall Guy

by Hope Madden

From the first notes of the Kiss classic playing behind a montage of stunt moments across cinema’s recent history, The Fall Guy defines itself as a love story. This movie loves stunt performers.

And why not?

It’s pretty clever in getting audiences on board by casting maybe the most lovable movie star working today, Ryan Gosling, as Colt Seavers, hapless stuntman. (Yes, that is the same name used by Lee Majors in the kitschy 80s TV detective show, but mercifully the PI angle is dropped for the feature.)

Colt, longtime stunt double for megastar Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), is smitten with the camera operator on his latest film. But an accident takes him out of the stunt game and out of Jody’s (Emily Blunt) life. That is, until producer Gail (Hannah Waddingham) comes calling: Ryder’s missing and Colt must fill in on set or Jody’s first film as a director, Metalstorm, will go bust.

When David Leitch made his feature directing debut in 2017 with Atomic Blonde, his decades in stunt work and stunt coordination showed. His instinct was not just to string together one fascinating piece of stunt choreography after another (though he did do that). He took advantage of his cast’s natural physical abilities to help sell the action.

And where Charlize Theron is grace, strength and ability, Gosling and Blunt are goofy and adorable. That’s the vibe from start to finish. The leads share a sweet, infectious chemistry. Winston Duke is underused but fun as Metalstorm’s stunt coordinator and Colt’s bestie, and Taylor-Johnson’s full-blown McConaughey riff is a riot.

The film has some glaring problems, though. The Fall Guy’s heart is not really in its plot, and that’s fine. But at a full and noticeable 2  hours, the film needed to prune. The opening third of the film could easily lose 15 minutes because the sheer chemistry between Blunt and Gosling carries the love story without the heavy and lengthy exposition.

It’s too long and it feels it, but there’s still much to be delighted by. The set pieces are fun, funny, practical and quite impressive. And they lead to a climax that lets a full cast of stunt performers and technicians just go to town.

The Fall Guy is not the most memorable way to spend two hours and 9 minutes (you will want to stick it out through the credits, BTW), but it is mindless—if overlong—fun.