When even the needle drops are fantastic, a movie is onto something. From the moment the Universal logo hits the screen, The Fall Guy is a great time at the movies, filled with intense action, good music, and really strong performances.

The Fall Guy Cast and Story

Written by Drew Pearce and directed by David Leitch, The Fall Guy is loosely based on the 1980’s TV show of the same name. Ryan Gosling stars as Colt Seaver, a stunt man in love with camera operator Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt). When Seaver has a serious injury on set, his stunt days are over and his entire life changes. One year later, Jody is out of his life and now a director, while Colt is working as a valet.

Seaver receives a call from producer Gail Meyer (Ted Lasso’s Hannah Waddingham) that gets him back into the stunt game on the set of Jody’s directorial debut, Metalstorm. Soon after arriving on set in Sydney, Australia, Colt realizes that he’s there for a different reason. Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), the star of the movie, has disappeared and Meyer is asking Colt to find him and save Jody’s movie.

A Love Letter to 80’s Television and Stuntmen

It’d be expected to think that from there, The Fall Guy becomes another typical remake and a sort of whodunit. But what sets this film apart is how different it is from other remakes like Miami Vice, 21 Jump Street, or even the unfortunate The Dukes of Hazzard. Instead of following a typical formula, The Fall Guy becomes a love letter to stuntmen, a layered love story, and works to break the 4th wall at every opportunity.

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Emily Blunt and Ryan Gosling have an immediate and genuine chemistry on screen. Their charisma and connection provides the heart of The Fall Guy, but the supporting cast is excellent as well. Hannah Waddingham is incredible as the producer who is driven to both get Metalstorm made and protect the image of the star, Tom Ryder. Aaron Taylor-Johnson, often rumored to be the next James Bond, steals almost every moment he is portraying Ryder on-screen. No one should overlook the contributions of Jean-Claude, either. Tom Ryder’s dog is fun, funny, and really serves the story at key moments in the second and third acts.

The film’s real stars are the stunt performers, though, and the stunt performers of Metalstorm get their moment in The Fall Guy’s final act. In a spot reminiscent of the Avengers: Assemble moment from Avengers: Endgame, the stuntmen rally together in the final confrontation to battle the villain and their henchmen to stop them from getting away and framing Colt. It’s a really great moment that should be a crowd pleaser for many fans.

Breaking the 4th Wall

The Fall Guy really stands out in its humor when the film actively breaks the fourth wall. It’s a movie about making a movie about the relationship struggles of the main characters in the real movie, all wrapped in a Dune-like sci-fi epic with a huge budget and dangerous stunts. Whenever Jody and Colt are discussing the plot of the film, they’re actually facing the mistakes made in their relationship. This dynamic build’s Colt’s character into a man with remorse and seeking redemption, both for himself and with Jody.

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A scene early in the film is a great example of this. Colt is doing a stunt where he is set on fire and thrown into a rock. Between takes, Jody uses a megaphone to describe the pain the two lovers in Metalstorm feel. With each take, she gives more information and then says they need to set him on fire and throw him into the rock again. In this moment, she is both expressing the pain she feels and punishing Colt for turning his back on her one year earlier.

Repeatedly, Jody mentions that they are having difficulty writing the third act of Metalstorm. It’s a clever way of indicating that Colt and Jody’s story isn’t finished, and that they have to confront the past before they can truly write an ending to their story—regardless of whether that ending is good or bad. As viewers, we witness the story being written as Colt and Jody rekindle their relationship in the third act of The Fall Guy.

A Great Start to the Summer

The Fall Guy likely won’t be among the finalists for Best Picture next year. The reality is that it doesn’t need to be. It’s not intended to be an Oscar-worthy powerhouse; it’s meant to be a fun time at the movies. In that sense, The Fall Guy is a huge success. Both Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt deliver in a film with action, romance, and humor that gets the 2024 summer season off to a great start.

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