I finally got around to seeing the Gray Man, a movie by the Russo brothers, that I thought had a lot of hype, for the cast alone. I feel like I had the Russo Brothers over for lunch a couple of days after Thanksgiving. All they brought were some old leftovers that were much better when they were fresh. This movie is a BAD mix of a lot of much better action movies. It is John Wick meets Mission Impossible meets Jason Bourne meets James Bond. And it is self aware of it's lameness! At one point 006 or whatever literally makes a joke about not being James Bond. The premise is dumb and simple, stop me if this sounds familiar. Secret Government Agent with a number for a codename is hunted by his own organization for secrets he has on them and jumps out of a plane at least once. To quote the movie itself, "Boring!". The worst part of the movie is the colossal waste of talent. I'll keep this review short (like I wish the movie was) and just do a list of what I liked and didn't like. Spoiler: one list WILL be shorter than the other.
The opening of this movie made me a promise. It said "Hey Joe, we aren't going to bore you with exposition, we are getting that right out of the way." The movie opens with Billy Bob Thornton (who is the most confusing casting choice of this film) getting 0006 out of jail so he can be the blah blah blah. So I took that as a decision to just spend the intro on exposition, and then send this badassassin on a string of violence and epicness. Oh right this is supposed to be the "Like" section, woops. I like Chris Evans. I mean let's face it, if you have eyeballs it will be a DELIGHT looking at the ensemble. From the GORGEOUS Billy Bob Thornton all the way to the Russo brother himself. Just kidding, it is honestly like they tried to cast the three most beautiful people on the planet (Cillian Murphy not included), Chris Evans, Ryan Gosling, and the incredibly stunning if not incredible underused Ana De Armas. The cast is good. That's literally it. The first cool shot/scene was literally at 1:32:35. That's a long time to wait for a cool kill. Now on to my favorite part of the reviews, buckle up.
Honestly that photo above is what is wrong with the movie. We were promised a cat and mouse movie between Chris Evans as Llyod whatever and Ryan Gosling as 00006. They share two scenes in the entire movie. The first scene is good, showcasing what makes the two men different and all too similar. But then that's it. Lloyd sends men to do his job after. The majority of the movie is Gosling running away from people. They should have removed ALL other antagonists (including the stupid director I don't care about) and made this a personal and grueling fight between two incredible and driven characters. They didn't do that. And I know this was a book, so I don't know how close to the source material they were or were trying to be, but man the "chemistry" between these two was NEVER there, it was forced. The main complain I have is that this isn't original. Not just the movie, the book too if this movie is telling me anything. Like I mentioned way above, this movie copies hits from other movies, and does them poorly. There is a "Oh gOd nOt tHe BoUnTy HuNtErS" sequence straight from John Wick, a plan dive right from Mission Impossible, and a plot straight from Mission Impossible and The Bourne Movies. This is a film that doesn't feel any different than any other Bond-esque action movie from the last thirty years, in fact it feels worse. The action is all cut up, the camera work is questionable due to it's reliance on drone cameras, and the writing is just terrible. Some of these lines are the WORST written lines in cinema, and I've seen The Room. You want a line worse than anything in The Room? Go to 1:44:10 for the WORST line in cinema. But so many "jokes" fall flat, and there really isn't a clever line in the entire thing, just MCU level banter at best.
This movie does character development all wrong. Instead of showing us why 000006 is efficient and how Lloyd is a psycho, they just have characters tell us that. And it's obvious. Honestly you cut the exposition "THIS GUY IS CRAZY WE CANT TRUST HIM" lines out of the movie and you probably shave like twenty minutes off. It's a classic movie rule, show, don't tell. Obviously they are begging for a sequel but all the focus on the CIA Director takes the focus away from Evans. And honestly I'll say Evans was the shining performance. Gosling wasn't given much to do, even though he is an incredible actor. But Evans was having the time of his life with the role, and that was fun to see at times. Moderate spoiler here but there is a point where it is OBVIOUS 0000006 is about to be betrayed, and he doesn't see it at all, even though the movie set him up as this assassin God. The characters were "Boring!", and honestly the millions they spent on hiring good actors is why this movie even gets meh reviews. There were plenty of unbelievable plot points, and I want whatever track suit Ryan Gosling is wearing, thing must be bulletproof. When John Wick takes damage you feel it, and see him slow down. When 0000000006 gets hurt he goes "Oh" and continues wrecking everything in sight, at NO point are you worried for him. Or care about him. Or anyonee really. I'll save you some time, do NOT see this movie, go see John Wick, Mission Impossible, any of the Bourne movies, or James Bond and have a much better time. In fact, as a bonus, here is a list of movies you should watch instead of this for each actor.
Movie You Should Watch
Julia Butters (best actor here)
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
The Nice Guys
Ana de Armas
No Time To Die
The Russo Brothers
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Final Score: 004/10
Summary: A movie that promises you a fresh exciting story about spies instead presents you with a Frankenstein of a movie, with various parts of much better movies stitched together into this "Boring!", witless, tough to look at, monstrosity. This is a movie that just wants you to stare at it's cast, and hope you don't notice the terrible plot.