The Gray Man [5/10]

The Gray Man” is Netflix’s expensive tilt at a Bond-Bourne-like franchise, all action and style. Ryan Gosling plays Six, a shadowy super-spy/killer/warrior originally rescued from jail, and the film quickly establishes the underlying premise: when a mission goes wrong, Six gets hold of data that the head American spy must retrieve, and soon enough, Lloyd Hansen, a psychopathic mercenary, is on Six’s trail. The first third holds promise, with wild chase/battle scenes. Gosling is a favorite actor of mine, and here he plays a deadpan, quick-witted super operative with flair, at least during the film’s setup. But despite ongoing action scenes that out-Bond Bond, and some cool repartee, by the second half, the rot sets in. Chris Evans is miscast as the villain and hams him up with ludicrous flippancy, while Gosling’s nonchalance quickly turns sour. The finale of The Gray Man is a disaster plot-wise, a clumsy vehicle to segue into a sequel. Look, there is noise, there is action, and some classiness, but a botched second half with little storytelling smarts means this franchise should be no franchise at all.

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