The Gray Man has a paper thin plot that is familiar in the genre. Ryan Gosling plays a secret service hitman, code named Six (“007” was already taken up) that uncovers some shady background information on the agency that he works for, and soon becomes the target to be killed as a result. Leading the mission to get him, is Chris Evans as Lloyd, a ruthless killer with a total disregard for rules. So the stage is quickly set for a cat and mouse game between two strong opponents that spans across continents.
Under the direction of Anthony and Joe Russo (aka the Russo Brothers), The Gray Man is anything but run-of-the-mill. Their previous involvement with Marvel blockbusters for the Captain America and Avengers movies shows clearly in the style of how the action scenes flow. Always elaborate, and never shot in a straight forward manner. Whether it is a killing in the midst of New Year fireworks in Bangkok, a fall out of plane mid-air fight sequence, a shot out in the middle of Prague, or a chase inside a maze, each action set piece is elaborately executed. The skeptics will argue that much of the action are incredible and unrealistic, but hey, we are watching what is essentially fantasy crime thriller so why bother? I do feel that with so much time and energy being put into the continuous flow of action, there was little time allotted for much dialogue or proper characterization to take place. Both the Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans characters are strictly one dimensional but we are fortunate that both actors have great screen presence and still manage to make their characters stand out. They have some nice exchange of dark humor, and even time for some sentimental moments. Providing the female support is the beautiful and talented Ana de Armas whom we last saw briefly as the high kicking Paloma in No Time to Die. While she has a meatier role this time, with more screen time, I thought she stood out more in the James Bond outing than here. Perhaps she was buried under the two heavy male dominant characters.
The Gray Man is yet another victim to poor critical reviews but honestly I think it isn’t as bad as the critics would lead you to believe. Some complain about irrelevant things like Chris Evan’s bad moustache, as it that has another to do with the film. And anyway how good or bad that moustache looks is relative and I think added to the character’s persona. What is undeniable is that this is a very well made action film and should be viewed as such. So watch and be entertained.