The Gray Man movie review: Despite two charismatic leads and an efficient Dhanush, the film is just serviceable

 

The Gray Man movie review: The Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans-starrer is only slightly above average, despite its gorgeous locations, massive set pieces and all the cool-looking action.

the gray man

In the newly released Russo Brothers movie The Gray Man, Chris Evans’ Lloyd Hansen asks Ryan Gosling’s Six at one point, how did he know that Chris was in fact Lloyd, since they had never seen each other before. Ryan Gosling responds sassily, “The white pants, the trash ‘stache…it leans Lloyd.”

If someone were to question you about identifying a Russo Brothers actioner, you too would have a similar cheeky rejoinder — ‘Massive set pieces, foreign locations, convincing action choreography aided by some charismatic actors’. And you would not be wrong. If you really have to boil things down to their basics, there are maybe three or four ingredients that make up this relentless but only slightly above-average action flick; actors who know their job (thank God), slick action moves and a lot of talk over the phone.

The Gray Man is about Ryan Gosling’s brooding Agent Six, who is rehabilitated as a spy to work for an elite unit in tandem with the CIA. During one job, where he has to ‘take out’ people, Six discovers he might be killing someone innocent. He stops to gather the pieces, and manages to uncover dirty secrets of top guys. This top management, headed by Bridgerton’s breakout star Rege-Jean Page (aka Denny Carmichael), orders one of his senior executives (Jessica Henwick) to recruit Chris Evans’ psychopathic Lloyd Hansen to catch the uncatchable Sierra Six. Lots of cool-looking action at cooler-looking places follows. Helicopters and buildings explode, shots are fired and we even get a hand-to-hand combat sequence at a scenic fountain between Six and Lloyd, where the men show off their skills in inflicting physical violence (a definite delight for hardcore action movie buffs and fans of the two stars).

Indian star Dhanush, in his second Hollywood film, gets a grand entry. He also gets to display his fighting skills as he combats with both Ana de Armas and Gosling in a longish scene. Although his screen time is more than one would have thought it would be, Dhanush has only a couple of lines to say in those bits. This can maybe justified in a way, since spies, at least the conventional ones, are supposed to do more than they say. Dhanush’s Avik does exactly that. He is also the only one in the movie perhaps who has a strong moral compass, which Russos highlight early on by showing him touching a rudraksh mala, which is considered sacredSubtle.

As for the women — Ana de Armas, Jessica Henwick and Margaret Cahill — they are good actors who are not given that much importance, maybe barring Ana’s Dani Miranda, a special CIA agent who has Six’s back. The issue here is, there’s only so much meat for such a big ensemble cast. Everyone has to make do with what they get, because of course the largest chunks go to Gosling and Evans.

Bottomline: This is a decent one-time watch if you keep your expectations in half, but could have done so much more with a leaner narrative and some editing in the second part.

Helmed by the Russos, The Gray Man is currently streaming on Netflix.

The Gray Man movie cast: Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Dhanush, Ana de Armas, Jessica Henwick, Rege-Jean Page, Billy Bob Thornton, Margaret Cahill, Julia Butters
The Gray Man movie directors: Joe and Anthony Russo
The Gray Man movie rating: 2 stars3

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