The Fall Guy Film Review

'The Fall Guy' © Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.
Bron is a Melbourne-based science journalist who loves to return 'home' to a band room any chance she gets. She has 25 years' experience and has worked for Rolling Stone, Blunt, The Sydney Morning Herald, JUICE and many more.

On paper, ‘The Fall Guy’ sounds like a reasonably fun, if a little frivolous, Hollywood action flick: Down-on-his-luck stuntman finds himself tasked with a very important job to rescue his former lover and director’s new blockbuster movie.

However, on paper there’s no way of capturing the chemistry and performances of said stunt guy Colt Seavers (Ryan Gosling) and director Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt). And it’s that gut-punch sentimental epic-love chemistry the pair share on screen that keeps this heartfelt rom-com right on track, when all the action scenes seem to threaten to overshadow it.

We meet Colt on a usual day on set for a stuntman – getting beaten up, hit by cars, set on fire – who just happens to be sharing this set with Jody in the early days of their burgeoning romance. Colt is body double for the hottest action star around, Tom Ryder – played by next Bond hopeful Aaron Taylor-Johnson – whose diva-like behaviour and poor treatment of the stuntman make him instantly unlikeable. We also meet his agent, manager, partner in crime, the Diet Coke-addicted Gail (played by ‘Ted Lasso’’s amazing Hannah Waddingham).

But this turns out to be anything but a normal day on set, with Colt getting badly injured in a fall gone wrong, and subsequently he has his life spiral out of control as he loses his mobility, his job and his girl. But 18 months later, while working valet at a Mexican restaurant, he gets an SOS call from Gail, desperately in need of a stuntman for Tom – who is, of course, working on Jody’s directorial debut being shot on the other side of the world in Sydney.

What follows is a near non-stop, wild, mystery-solving adventure full of bodies being set on fire, shot at, punched, falling through windows and tables, flying from cars, hanging from garbage trucks and helicopters (totally expected from ‘Bullet Train’ director David Leitch). Jody’s not pleased to have Colt back on set, either, given the way he left things between them, and makes him pay with some repeatedly brutal stunt jobs. Then there’s the case of a missing lead star, a murder framing and a career-making or potentially breaking movie for Jody to get across the finish line somehow.

As a rom-com, there is somewhat of a predetermined storyline for Gosling and Blunt, but nonetheless they’re a joy to watch in scenes together. Waddingham is over-the-top hilarious, and the support cast of stunt actors and the good guys versus bad guys fight to the end is never dull.

And, happily, there’s plenty of acknowledgement of the real stunt men and women, who really do play such a pivotal role in the film. The real-life action scenes are top notch, the epic explosions tastier than cinema popcorn and there are plenty of laughs along the way that maintain the movie’s endearingly cheesy tone. However, the Sydney backdrop may be distracting for anyone who has spent much time in the city (people driving calmly, below the speed limit, and not overtaking like maniacs in the harbour tunnel?!), but it also provides a nice change of scenery from the usual Hollywood blockbuster set.

And, while this reviewer had doubts, it appears that yes, Gosling can even play a convincing action hero (with personality to boot).

‘The Fall Guy’ is a whole lot of fun – and definitely one to see on the big screen.

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