Comfortable and Furious

The Fall Guy

“The Fall Guy” – A successful stunt.

Let’s jump right into it…The Fall Guy is an exceptionally fun movie. If you enjoyed Tropic Thunder and Bullet Train, put your hands together. If you didn’t enjoy those movies, well…maybe you just hate fun. The Fall Guy director David Leitch and writer Drew Pearce definitely like fun.

Depending on how old you are, you might remember The Fall Guy television show that ran in the early 1980s. I barely do. I remember that the main character was a stuntman and I remember his truck (mostly because I had the Hot Wheels copy of it). When the theme song started playing in the theater as the movie began, I found myself singing along with it, already starting to have fun.

(Very mild spoilers ahead.)

That stuntman’s name is Colt Seavers (Ryan Gosling). On top of his game as the stuntman for A-list action star Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), he’s also working with the love of his life on a daily basis, camerawoman Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt). When he suffers a near-fatal accident during filming, he disappears from everyone and his life, including Jody. Eighteen months later, old friend and film producer Gail Meyer (Hannah Waddingham) tracks Colt down and convinces him to fill in as a stuntman in a movie called Metalstorm, goading him into it on the basis that the film is also Jody’s directorial debut. After wrapping up his first day on set, Gail pulls Colt aside and reveals that Tom Ryder has disappeared and she asks Colt to track him down.

When Gail tells Colt she believes Tom has gotten mixed up with drug dealers, the first question the audience asks is “shouldn’t this be a job for the cops?” In poorly written movies, this question is either completely ignored or answered in a way that makes you roll your eyes so hard your seat reclines. In The Fall Guy, the first question Colt asks Gail is “should you call the cops?” Yay! And the answer from Gail is logical and believable – “if the cops get involved, the studio will find out the movie is way over budget and missing its star and they’ll kill production and you wouldn’t want that to happen to Jody, would you?” Yay! 

With that final bit of setup complete, the movie plunges right into why it exists in the first place – action, romance, and comedy in heaping piles of deliciousness. The action was the easy part. The Fall Guy being an ode to practical stunts and stuntmen, Leitch crammed as many practical stunts into the film as he could. Wild car chases, jumps to and from helicopters, fight scenes, shootouts, explosions, people set on fire, even a world-record breaking cannon roll (where an explosion causes a vehicle to roll multiple times). The best thing about the action is it all serves a purpose other than action for action’s sake. Sometimes it’s to move the romance plotline, sometimes it’s for the movie within the movie, and sometimes it’s moving the plot to find Tom forward. For anyone who complains about too much CGI, happy birthday.

The comedy part is just as good as the action. Sometimes, the action is also the comedy. In one scene, Colt is set on fire and blown into a large rock over and over again as Jody expresses her displeasure at Colt abandoning her after his accident. In another, it’s the fake weapons Colt and stunt coordinator/best friend Dan (Winson Duke) must wield to fend off some bad guys. And when the action isn’t providing the comedy, it’s provided by the actors, who are delivering wonderfully likeable and hilarious performances. You’ll be cackling at Taylor-Johnson delivering one of the big, climactic, inspirational, pre-battle speeches in his best exaggerated Matthew McConaughey accent, but not until after you nearly pee yourself during a split-screen scene between Blunt and Gosling. And all of this happens in the context of making fun of blockbuster movie productions, much in the way Tropic Thunder did. 

Finally, there’s the romance, which is mostly an extension of the comedy, but elicits real emotions from the audience. While the relationship between Jody and Colt is presented as mostly light-hearted and airy, there are moments that come across as really genuine, even when the film is trying to keep the tone light. Go back to the scene with Colt being all-but tortured by Jody as she confronts his abandonment over and over again. She’s doing this to him in the form of shooting multiple takes of the scene, substituting her own emotions as her movie character’s motivations while directing the scene. Everyone involved in the scene knows what’s going on, even to the point of being supportive of doing the scene over and over again. Blunt portrays real hurt in Jody, Gosling portrays real guilt and sorrow in Colt, all while everyone is trying not to laugh as Colt is slammed aflame into a rock wall over and over. It’s brilliant and, yes, extremely fun to watch.

While there is still a load of movies left to see this year, I have a hard time believing any will be as entertaining as The Fall Guy (yes, I’m well aware Deadpool 3 is one of them). It’s a near perfect blend of great acting, clever writing, amazing stunt work, and just the right amount of self-awareness. I could have done without the forced cameos from Lee Majors and Heather Thomas that felt like an afterthought, but even the best stunt people don’t get everything perfect.

Rating: That much fun is worth double what you paid for it.



, ,




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *