Year:  2024

Director:  David Leitch

Release:  24 April 2024

Distributor: Universal

Running time: 126 minutes

Worth: $14.50
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Ryan Gosling, Emily Blunt, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Winston Duke, Hannah Waddingham, Stephanie Hsu, Teresa Palmer

… a fun, frothy and appealing bit of escapist entertainment.

Despite the film industry being absolutely dependent on them, we don’t hear much about stuntmen (aka action choreographers aka fall guys). This is in part due to the fact that actors are often deluded narcissists who like to claim that they “do their own stunts”. The other aspect is that the stunt performer is slowly and inevitably being pushed out by visual effects, CGI and other forms of digital trickery. This is a great pity, and another example of the history of cinema being slowly forgotten. Happily, films like The Fall Guy exist, which is essentially an ode to a vital, but dying art and a showcase for two stars with an absurd amount of chemistry.

Like, guys, seriously: get a room.

The Fall Guy is the story of seasoned stuntman Colt Seavers (Ryan Gosling), who is on top of the world. He’s working with the love of his life, camera operator Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt) and making decent money as the stunt double for douchy actor Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). Then, in a stupid accident, he breaks his back and disappears from the industry and his lover. Eighteen months later, Colt is called back onto the set of sci-fi epic Metalstorm directed by none other than Jody in her feature debut. However, mega producer Gail Meyer (Hannah Waddingham) has an additional job for Colt, finding Tom Ryder, because the arrogant weirdo has gone missing under suspicious circumstances. So, it’s up to Colt to find Tom, save the movie and maybe, just maybe, rekindle romance with an extremely pissed-off Jody.

The Fall Guy is by no means a story well told. Its script is half baked and the pacing is all over the shop. It does, however, have two huge things going for it. One is the cast, specifically Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt, who work so well together that it might well give John Krasinski a few sleepless nights. Their banter and zappy, romantic back and forth is a genuine pleasure to watch, even if it does feel a little indulgent at times. The other big boon is the practical stunts, performed by extremely talented Aussies in a variety of locations around Sydney. And while the lengthy car chase that at one stage ends up on the Harbour Bridge is a little protracted, it’s certainly exciting and well executed.

The Fall Guy is no great work of art, but it is a fun, frothy and appealing bit of escapist entertainment. The two leads are almost disturbingly appealing together, and the frequent action is delivered with Leitch’s typically deft skill (Bullet Train, Deadpool 2). If a little more time had been spent on the script, this had the potential to be a legitimate classic, but as it is, The Fall Guy is a disposable couple of hours spent in the company of some beautiful people falling off and smashing into things. And perhaps, if nothing else, the film will kickstart a campaign to make “stunt performer” a category at the Academy Awards, a stunning omission that continues to genuinely baffle.