The Fall Guy (2024) – Film Review

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Director: Dabid Leitch
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Emily Blunt, Aaron Ryder-Johnson
Certificate: 12A

By David Reid

Usually we have to wait until July for the first Hollywood studio blockbuster of the year, but The Fall Guy, loosely based on the 80s TV series of the same name, has landed on our cinema screens early this year.

The premise is that film stuntman Colt Seavers is seriously injured onset jeopardising a developing romance with camera operator Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt). After an 18-month absence he returns to stunt work in Jody Moreno’s debut directing project, which stars Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), whose stunts are performed by Colt Seavers.

The timing of this release sees the two main stars well and truly in the limelight after their respective performances in Oppenheimer (Blunt) and Barbie (Gosling). There is clear chemistry between the two leads and Aaron Taylor-Johnson and film on-set producer, Gail Meyer, played by Hannah Waddingham, have a ball, hamming it up as slightly zany supporting characters. A mention in dispatches is also merited for a supporting performance by Everything Everywhere All At Once‘s Stephanie Hsu, as Tom Ryder’s personal assistant.

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“Strong credentials”

The ‘will they won’t they’ romance question plays out as the dramatic twists and turns of the plot unfold, over the two hours of screen time.

As you would expect from the title and storyline, action stunts feature heavily, especially as the plot develops. The director, David Leitch, a former stuntman himself, has strong credentials at the helm of action movies, including John Wick, Deadpool 2 and Bullet Train.

The stunts are spectacular, most of which are set against at backdrop of Sydney Harbour, adding to the visual impact of the action sequences. Whilst not of Shakespearean quality, the film-within-a-film device works well as a vehicle to develop the plot. The action – and the scale of the stunts – build towards the climax of the film.

The content gives us a deeper understanding of the challenges and dangers of those performing film stunts, which are integral to our enjoyment of many films, though necessarily hidden from view and consequently underappreciated. This is further reinforced within a sequence of additional action scenes from the film, which rolls alongside the closing credits. In a nod to the style of the Marvel movie franchise, there is an extra scene at the end of the credits. This will be particularly appreciated by fans of the original TV series.

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“A little flat”

Your enjoyment of the movie may hinge on your appreciation of the humour in the script. Much of the dialogue is of the tongue-in-cheek variety, which tends towards the cheesy. Think Zoolander or Police Academy.

For me, that fell a little flat and was to the detriment of the screenplay. The characters were a little two-dimensional and more screen time between the two leads may have enhanced our investment in them.

In conclusion, the action scenes were thrilling, although these were not matched by the quality of the script and the weaker characterisation.

The Fall Guy is in cinemas now

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