Unlike its title, one of the first few scenes in ‘The Gray Man’ is a blindingly bright burst of colors and fireworks light up the Bangkok skyline. However, except for the literal colors, there aren’t too many shades or layer to the 2022 action movie starring directed by the Russo brothers.
Plot overview: Ryan Gosling plays ‘Six’, a CIA operative, who while on a mission comes in possession of an explosive pen-drive filled with incriminating evidence against someone powerful in the agency. This leads to a global manhunt against Six, led by Lloyd Hansen (Chris Evans), a ‘psychopath’ in-charge of an army of assassins.
Ryan Gosling is basically an American Rajinikanth in this stylish spy-action story, who has dozens of trained killers from all over the world on his trail, but he jumps from planes/trains/cars/buildings with just a few scratches to show for them. There’s too much money spent on lavish locations, instead of the actual storytelling and action direction. ‘The Gray Man’ does have a very satisfying amount of guns, grenades and fight scenes… but they all feel… generic. I couldn’t help but think how ‘The Man From Toronto’ was more entertaining than this, where Woody Harrelson played a character which was a mix of both Six and Lloyd Hansen.
There is no faulting the actors in ‘The Gray Man’, they do their briefs right. Ryan Gosling is interesting as Six, he might not be as suave or dashing as 007 AKA James Bond, but is just fine for the role he’s been given. Chris Evans does a fantastic job of playing a psychotic killer who has no morals and would blow up a room full of newborn babies if the mission paid enough. Ana De Armas plays CIA agent Dani Miranda, who gets caught up in Six’s troubles and decides to help him out. All the other actors have brief small cameos. A small sub-plot to show ‘Six’ isn’t just a cold-blooded agent who kills felt contrived, had it given more screen space, it might have evoked the emotional connect the makers for hoping for. Instead, the little cliches become annoying and the pace begins to grate. It’s the kind of film that thinks it’s brilliantly clever, but is actually trying too hard to be a cut above the rest.
As an Indian viewer, I kept waiting for the Dhanush cameo, which finally came in the second half of the film, and even though it wasn’t exactly a ‘blink & miss’ part, wish he had a few more dialogues or some more screen time. It’s evident they roped in him to ensure there was enough bait to get all the Indian fans to watch it. With a lukewarm climax, ‘The Gray Man’ might be a great looking action film, but quite forgettable and does no value addition to the action genre.
It’s a 5/10 from me.
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