Growing up through the ’90s and the 2000s meant watching films featuring two of the most prominent actors of that time, duking it out until the flesh on their bodies was barely hanging off their bones (mostly metaphorically), and your screen was about to melt because of the scalding tension. We are talking about “U.S. Marshals,” “The Fugitive,” “Cape Fear,” “The Jackal,” “Heat,” “Hard Boiled,” “Face/Off,” “War” (2007 one), “The Departed,” “Die Hard” and “The Untouchables.” Movies from the last decade that have managed to emulate this style of storytelling are “The Night Comes For Us,” “Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” “War” (2019), and “Master.” So, you can understand why “The Gray Man” can seem like a film tailor-made for someone who has devoured films from this sub-genre for sustenance and is a fan of Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Ana De Armas, Dhanush, and practically the rest of the cast and crew involved in the film.
I am here to inform you that “The Gray Man” doesn’t just disappoint on so many levels, but it is truly one of the worst movies of all time. That last part can seem like an overstatement. But when you take the budget, the technology, and the talent into consideration, it’ll start to seem like an understatement. Anyway, the movie is directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo. It’s written by Joe, Christopher Markus, and Stephen McFeely, and is based on Mark Greaney’s novel. We follow Sierra Six (Gosling), a felon who was recruited by the CIA’s Donald Fitzroy (Billy Bob Thornton) for a black ops program. In the present day, Six and Dani (Armas) are tasked by Carmichael (Regé-Jean Page) and Suzanne (Jessica Henwick) to kill Dining Car/Sierra Four (Callan Mulvey). Six goes off the script after he learns about the CIA’s dubious side. So, Carmichael sends Lloyd (Evans), an unhinged private security contractor, after Six to get him, dead or alive.
As you can see, the story doesn’t make much sense. To be honest, it doesn’t have to. It’s a classic throwback to action extravaganzas from the ’80s, the ’90s, and the 2000s. And it is the nonsensicality of the plot that creates the platform for crafting relatable characters, engaging interactions, and action set-pieces that you’ll feel in your bones. “The Gray Man” gets two of those three aspects absolutely wrong, and one out of them temporarily right. Let’s start with characters. In an attempt to make Lloyd, Six, Dani, Carmichael, or Suzanne seem cool, the Russo Brothers turn them into pretentious douchebags. It is the kind of cool that is neither inspirational nor awesome. It’s what we call “try-hard” or “wannabe.” There are no moments to ground them so that you can feel what’s beneath each of these characters’ facades. There is no introspection or retrospection. Why? Because the Russos are too busy crafting action sequences. That, …….