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The Fall Guy

Year: 2024
Production Co: 87North
Studio: Universal
Director: David Leitch
Writer: Drew Pearce
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Emily Blunt, Hannah Waddingham, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Winston Duke, Teresa Palmer, Jason Momma

This is how you know Hollywood is back to normal after the pandemic. Existing IP.

Based on an old TV show Gen Xers loved as kids (so the studio hopes we show up). A late cameo by the original star (and look, I'm sure Heather Thomas is a lovely person and she was great in the show, but she looked like she was dressing as a cross between a clown and a witch for Halloween). The original title track as the end track for the movie. Release it right before the big blockbuster season kicks off and voila, a license to print money.

It doesn't look like it's worked in this case because they were already talking about how it was down on predictions and underperformed as soon as the first weekend came up.

And now, as I write this review after two weeks of release in the critical North American market it's flopped hard, making $76m globally from a budget of around $150m – which means it has to make nearly four times as much as it has to break even.

Ryan Gosling is stuntman Colt Seavers, getting himself ready for a stunt fall amid a chaotic movie set where he's also talking to his girlfriend, camera operator Judy (Emily Blunt). He starts the gag and when the screen cuts to black there's a horrified scream.

Cut to a year later and Colt has left the industry, living as a shut in and working as a parking valet, and we gradually learn that the stunt went wrong, breaking his back and causing him to flee everything he knew including the industry and his girlfriend.

But smooth talking producer Gail (Hannah Waddingham) talks him into coming to Sydney where one of his old friends, stunt coordinator Dan (Winston Duke) is working on his latest movie, a sci-fi action spectacle called Metalstorm. It's Judy's first movie as a director, and Gail tells Colt she's insisting he come to work on the movie because she doesn't trust anyone else.

But when he gets there it's obvious Judy didn't want him at all, still angry about him leaving her and the atmosphere between the two icy at best. Gail eventually admits to Colt she wanted him there because the film's self involved star, Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor Johnson) has got caught up with drug dealers and gone missing.

It's a disaster for Gail because if the marketable face doesn't show up in time the studio will shut them down, and it's a disaster for Colt because it's Judy's big break and he doesn't want it ruined for her. So he goes off on Tom's trail along with Dan and the action starts as the bad people Tom's in with start to push back, he and Judy slowly rekindling their relationship as he does.

The reason why Tom went missing – and the inciting incident for the whole plot – is one of the least interesting aspects of the film, and to be honest it's not handled very well, the entire intrigue around it more confusing than it needs to be for a commercial romp.

But the stunt and action set pieces are fun enough and it's good to see at least someone in the industry (director David Leitch) has the clout to bring the in-camera aesthetic stunt works truly deserves to screens.

But in another major downer, it once again displays the arrogance of people who think Los Angeles is the entire world. Over four million people live in my beloved hometown, and at least half of them would have seen the rubbish skip truck chase going on all over the CBD and then realised the truck crossing the harbour bridge was going the wrong way (ie back towards the city from North Sydney). But do big shot American film directors care? Nooooo.

Also, referring again to the Lee Majors and Heather Thomas cameos, I get that you want fun callbacks to the series, but why would two American cops be working in the sleepy southern Sydney enclave of Kurnell?

Also, referring again to the Lee Majors and Heather Thomas cameos, I get that you want fun callbacks to the series, but why would two American cops be working in the sleepy southern Sydney enclave of Kurnell?

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