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The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News



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Review: ‘The Fall Guy’ somewhat sticks the landing in its tribute to stunt performers

Ryan Gosling (left) and Emily Blunt in “The Fall Guy.” Leitch created “The Fall Guy” to celebrate the stunt industry and bring attention to the work of stunt doubles. Photo courtesy Universal Pictures.

Ryan Gosling was just Ken. Now, he’s just the stunt guy.

Hollywood’s stunt industry is given its long-overdue spotlight in “The Fall Guy,” an action comedy propelled by charming performances and incredible set pieces but sent to a rocky landing by an uneven plot.

Directed by David Leitch (“Deadpool 2,” “Bullet Train”), “The Fall Guy” takes loose inspiration from the TV show of the same name that aired from 1981 to 1986. Gosling stars as Colt Seavers, a stunt double for a famous movie actor, alongside Emily Blunt as Jody Moreno, a director and Colt’s love interest. When the actor Colt doubles for (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) goes missing, he embarks on a mission to find him while trying to win over Jody’s heart.

“The Fall Guy” is former stunt performer Leitch’s most personal film. Leitch crafts the film to celebrate the stunt industry, using humor and an upbeat rock soundtrack to romanticize the dangerous, yet dedicated, work of stunt doubles.

The film is fittingly loaded with outrageous, thrilling stunts. One of these stunts, an epic car flip pulled off by Gosling’s real-life stunt double Logan Holladay, set a Guinness World Record for the most cannon rolls recorded in a film stunt. Any lover of film stunts will be more than entertained by the film’s ambition, while other viewers will come away with a newfound appreciation for the people who make on-screen action possible.

Taking on a meta plot structure, the story is designed as a film occurring within a film. The film’s main setting is on a Hollywood movie set, where Jody’s science fiction movie, “Metalstorm,” is being shot. Because of this structure, the characters analyze and predict the main plot of “The Fall Guy” in real-time, relating it to the action plot of “Metalstorm.”

As such, “The Fall Guy” contains several gags that poke fun at the current state of the entertainment industry. The stereotypical sci-fi epic being filmed within the film parodies franchises like “Star Wars” and “Dune,” with a score that spoofs Hans Zimmer’s music for the latter. The “Metalstorm” film set is filled with references to recent Hollywood events, including a subtle jab at recent controversies surrounding the use of prop guns.

Where “The Fall Guy” crashes is in its screenplay, particularly in the film’s later acts. When a criminal conspiracy is introduced, the plot becomes overly complex and depletes much of the film’s simplistic charm. Additional characters that are introduced, some of whom are villainous, lack the enticing aspects of the two lead characters to earn the audience’s full care and attention.

Even at a runtime of 126 minutes, “The Fall Guy” feels much too long. Although the action-packed storyline is meant to mirror the film that the characters are creating, it is continuously expanded and dragged on to a point where viewers are left waiting for the film to finally be over.

Thankfully, Gosling and Blunt’s performances course-correct the film’s overly-ambitious plot. Fresh off their Oscar-nominated performances in “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer,” respectively, the two actors steal the show with perfectly-cast performances. Portraying much different characters than their previous roles, Gosling and Blunt brilliantly demonstrate their versatile acting abilities.

Gosling and Blunt’s chemistry is worth the price of admission alone. Scenes depicting Colt and Jody’s will-they-won’t-they love dynamic are easily the film’s highlight. Their hilarious and often deep dialogue not only creates one of the better love stories seen in recent action films but also gives their characters necessary depth. 

If nothing else, “The Fall Guy” is a mostly enjoyable ride with enough thrills to make its drawn-out story worth bearing and is a fitting tribute to a sector of Hollywood that has been long overlooked. Even if its flaws prevent it from standing out among the great action films, “The Fall Guy” will hopefully pave the way for more recognition of the most daring workers in entertainment.

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