The Gray Man

The Gray Man

"It's just another Thursday."

The Mark Greaney novel was sturdy, silly, unpretentious red meat action pulp, that in the right hands could've made for a fine lean and gritty action movie, think JACK REACHER but with more military hardware. Unfortunately, instead of James Gray and Christopher McQuarrie, who were both attached at one point during development, we ended up with it being a $200 million Netflix actioner from the directors of CHERRY, and is exactly as unappealing as that sounds. Any hope that the Russos can recapture the baseline action competence of WINTER SOLDIER goes out the window almost immediately, as this is way closer to CHERRY's arbitrary and nonsensical stylization, where every shot and cut feels selected entirely at random and every stylistic flourish feels like it's for the sake of itself, rather than to convey something about the story or the mood or anything. Several of the worst blockbuster action sequences in recent memory are in here (the plane and the fireworks explosion shit, christ), with a bunch of pointless shitty CGI and zero visual storytelling/plate spinning/escalation of stakes (and the drone shots are excruciating, Michael Bay used the drones in AMBULANCE as visual punctuation to ramp up the intensity, this just throws them in as flashy wallpaper). This movie manages to make Ryan Gosling and Ana de Armas, so affecting together in BLADE RUNNER 2049 (and the latter so charming and charismatic in last year's NO TIME TO DIE) boring. Baffling that Gosling chose something this non-existent as his blockbuster payday. And Evans is AWFUL in this, completely unequipped to play a psycho-assassin (he worked as the bad guy in KNIVES OUT because he was playing an entitled, snotty brat, completely out of his depth here). What a waste of a pulpy book and top of the line talent. One of Netflix's most DOA releases yet.

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