‘The Fall Guy’ movie review: Ryan Gosling, Emily Blunt shine in this sweet, meta adventure 

A still from ‘The Fall Guy’

The film begins with director David Leitch and star Ryan Gosling telling us to put our cell phones away, and so even though I was in the midst of a water crisis with spats with recalcitrant neighbours in the police station (for real), I decided to put away the phone (who can disregard Ken) to enjoy The Fall Guy. And what a rollercoaster of joy it was!

The Fall Guy 

Director: David Leitch

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emily Blunt, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Hannah Waddingham, Teresa Palmer, Stephanie Hsu, Winston Duke

Story line: A stunt man has to perform the stunt of his life to clear his name and ride off into the sunset with his woman

Run time: 126 minutes

The meta tone of the opening continues with seasoned stunt man Colt Seavers (Gosling) describing a regular day at the office, as he performs daredevilry for the wussy action star Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and flirts with his British girlfriend, camera operator Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt), talking about margaritas on the beach and swimming costumes. 

A stunt goes badly wrong and Colt barely escapes with his life. Out of action for 18 months, Colt leaves the stunt business, choosing to park cars at a Mexican restaurant instead. When Gail (Hannah Waddingham), Tom’s producer, calls Colt asking him to come over to Sydney for a shoot, he almost refuses till he hears the director asked for him specifically.

Even then he keeps refusing till he hears that the director is Jody, making her debut. The film, Metalstorm, is a sci-fi epic with a love story between a space cowboy and an alien. When Colt lands in Sydney, however, he finds himself involved in a giant conspiracy. Tom is involved with some nasty people and is missing, and Gail needs Colt to find Tom quickly, or else the production will be shut down and Jody’s dreams of making a film will be quashed forever.

Jody, on the other hand, has not forgiven Colt for breaking up with her and gets her fiery revenge on set. Tom’s assistant, Alma Milan, (Stephanie Hsu) has a vital clue.

The deeper Colt digs — through a maelstrom of movie references from Notting Hill to James Bond and Jason Bourne — the more worms come out. Everything becomes clear at the end of a flash-bang chase sequence involving a crucial recording, cannon rolls and a whirring chopper.

A still from ‘The Fall Guy’

A still from ‘The Fall Guy’

The Fall Guy is pure bliss. Based on a television show from the 80s, the movie, according to Leitch, is “a love letter to stunts.” Leitch, who co-directed John Wick definitely knows a thing or two about them. The stunts are practical, including the Guinness record breaking eight-and-a-half cannon car rolls, to give that much needed authenticity to a movie set in the world of stunts; the exquisitely-choreographed stunts surely earned Chris O’Hara the title of stunt designer.

The prop gun and rubber tomahawk bring a smile to our faces as does Tom’s dog, Jean Claude (har har) who only understands commands in French. Colt and his best friend, stunt coordinator Dan (Winston Duke) quoting lines and plays from the greatest action movies ever, including Rocky and The Last of the Mohicans, is smartly self-referential, as is Colt and Jody brainstorming on the feasibility of a split screen on a split screen while Jody massages her temples with a prop alien hand.

Gosling and Blunt have super chemistry with Blunt doing a mean karaoke. The stunts are jaw-dropping, the action thrilling and the jokes on the right side of meta. This is a love letter one can read and enjoy over and over again.

The Fall Guy is currently running in theatres

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