Published on May 2nd, 2024 | by Branden Zavaleta

The Fall Guy – Film Review

Reviewed by Branden Zavaleta on the 29th of April 2024
Universal Pictures presents a film by David Leitch
Written by Drew Pearce
Produced by Kelly McCormick, David Leitch, Ryan Gosling, and Guymon Casady
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emily Blunt, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Hannah Waddingham, Stephanie Hsu, Winston Duke, and Teresa Palmer
Cinematography by Jonathan Sela
Edited by Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir
Music by Dominic Lewis
Rating: M
Running Time: 126 minutes
Release Date: the 24th of April 2024

David Leitch’s new stunt man spectacular is two things: an above average, cheesy action/romance, and a love letter to action cinema and its unsung stunt teams. Squeezing these two parts together means the film gets a little chaotic and is stretched thin. However,  there’s more than enough visual splendour and charm to keep it going. This is in no small part thanks to the charisma of Ryan Gosling, and his chemistry with a magnetic Emily Blunt.

If you know filmmaking, you know that the stunt team are the ones who get hit in the face, set on fire, and thrown out of windows. They take the fall so the main cast don’t get dinged up by accident. Colt Seavers (Ryan Gosling) is the fall guy for superstar actor Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). He’s one of the best stuntmen, has a budding romance with a camerawoman named Jody (Emily Blunt), and things are getting serious until he takes a dive. A big one. After breaking his back and nearly dying from a botched stunt, he goes off the grid and ends up parking cars for a restaurant in LA.


Wallowing in self-pity, Colt decides that ‘all the burritos he can eat’ is as good as it gets, until his old producer Gail (Hannah Waddingham) offers him a ticket to Sydney and his old job back albeit on Jody’s new feature film. But winning Jody back won’t be easy. He must make the jump from action star to action hero when he finds out that Tom Ryder is missing.

The Fall Guy is packed, maybe even overstuffed with movie references, in-jokes, and industry secrets. The Fall Guy was first an 80s TV show, so the stars (Lee Majors and Heather Thomas) make a winking cameo appearance. Notting Hill (1999), Tom Cruise, and Memento (2000) all get name-dropped. And there’s even a chummy Winston Duke testing Colt’s memory for action one-liners. So unlike Leitch’s last film, which preferred to keep the references visual or a little more oblique, The Fall Guy is him going full gushing movie nerd. One  of the best parts of this is the Jackie Chan-style blooper reel that plays with the credits.

Thankfully, it’s not all geeking out. Gosling and Blunt’s romance manages to outdo some corny writing – let’s drink spicy margaritas and make some bad choices. It’s the usual charming performance from Gosling, and a memorably sweet one from Blunt. The romance is surprisingly the main event in this action film, with a lot of the action feeling like a B-plot. Gosling beating up goons with neon blue pixels for blood is visually stunning, but thematically unnecessary. And with its M-rating, the action is a total step down from Leitch’s action wonderland Bullet Train (2022). The Fall Guy’s action centrepiece is a dumpster brawl mixed with a high-speed chase on the Sydney Harbour bridge, and yet it’s totally underwhelming and feels painfully laden with CGI.

Even with Lietch’s action prowess behind it, The Fall Guy could have been a total whiff, even if you’re a major movie nerd. Thankfully, it is held up by its performers. Beyond Gosling and Blunt being bright stars as always, Aaron Taylor Johnson manages to be a total scene stealer (while playing the exact opposite of his character from Bullet Train), and Duke, Hsu, and Waddingham are not far behind. Boiling it down to a catchy slogan, it sounds like an advertisement for Sydney (which it sometimes feels like): Come for the sights, stay for the people.

The Fall Guy – Film Review Branden Zavaleta

Summary: David Leitch’s new stunt man spectacular is two things: an above average, cheesy action/romance, and a love letter to action cinema and its unsung stunt teams.



About the Author'

Branden Zavaleta is a freelance games writer from Australia. He loves Breath of the Wild, Disco Elysium and Dragon Quest VIII. And aside from games, he loves hiking, playing tennis and a visit to the movie theatre.

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