The Gray Man Review | A Template Secret Agent Action Thriller

The Russo brothers’ Gray Man is a very ambitious project in terms of scale. But the beats are so familiar that somewhere they fail to create applause. With slickness and pacing to make up for the lack of freshness in the writing, this Netflix original is just a must-watch action flick.

The Gray Man was a project started by CIA officer Donald Fitzroy where he recruited a qualified man with a criminal record to work for the CIA that he could not do directly. Our hero, code-named Sierra Six, was one of them, and during an operation, he found some sensitive information. The agency knew it had taken it, and they tasked Lloyd Hansen to find Six, a toxic sociopath who was an ex-CIA agent. The game of cat and mouse between Six and Lloyd is what we see in The Gray Man.

The Russo brothers are known for adding depth and a sense of emotion to the MCU. The way they moved away from templates and focused on conflicts somewhere, they brought freshness to the superhero space. In The Gray Man, they are trying their luck with the Super Agent theme. But the reinvention charm is not here. It was almost as if Rousseau had become influenced by Michael Bay. Locations are changing, bombs are detonating, and massive collateral damage is occurring. And despite all this, the plot seems pretty simple.

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Ryan Gosling as Sierra Six lives up to that distinctive style. It was Chris Evans who really got a role that looks exciting and something different. As the carefree Lloyd, Evans was really good, and it’s a character that’s quite different from the normal people we see him in. Ana de Armas as Dani Miranda is that generic aid to the protagonist who comes out of nowhere when the good guy needs help. Dhanush is for four or five scenes. Apart from potential global exposure, nothing is here for the two-time National Award winning actor.

The story here is very well known. When the Rousseau brothers do something like this, I expected that there would be some character-based aspect to the treatment. But the screenplay written by Christopher Marcus and Stephen McFeely is more interested in creating set pieces. After the pandemic, the visual effects standard has fallen in MCU movies as well. It can also be felt in Gray Man. The tram sequence didn’t sound convincing at all. It was almost as if Ross randomly chose a scene to be a spectacle, but the faint visual effects only made things worse. The high-speed heli-cam shots looked appealing, but there was no point in shooting such shots.

The Gray Man follows the standard template of that cool Agent thriller. Instead of making it a compelling drama, the focus is on making it an action extravaganza, and thus the fast-paced narration for the film. The swagger factor ultimately helps to make the film a non-boring film. But this one from Anthony and Joe Russo is short on innovation.

final thoughts

The swagger factor ultimately helps to make the film a non-boring film. But this one from Anthony and Joe Russo is short on innovation.

movie signal

Green: Recommended film

Orange: OK, Watchable, Experimental Movies

red: not recommended

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