The Fall Guy – movie review

The romantic comedy The Fall Guy delivers plenty of action, hairy scenes and hijinks.

Colt Seavers (Ryan Gosling) loves his job and his life. He’s a noted movie stuntman and body double for arrogant action star Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). More than that, Seavers is head-over-heels for camera operator Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt), who aspires to be a director. She feels the same way about him. As he says, he’s working with his dream girl on a dream job. And, of course, they love the moments they steal away together.

But Ryder doesn’t like to see Seavers hog the limelight, and involves re-shooting scenes. Producer Gail Meyer (Hannah Waddingham) indulges Ryder’s quirks, recognising the money to be made. And then, on one re-shoot, everything goes horribly wrong. A free-fall ends tragically, with Seavers breaking his back. That puts him in a dark place. He pushes Moreno away, even though she wants to be there for him.

Eighteen months on, in a dead-end job parking cars for a living, he receives an unexpected call from Meyer. She tells him that Moreno is making her first movie – a sci-fi fantasy – and wants Seavers back on set – this time in Sydney. Anyone else would say “no”, but Seavers isn’t anyone else. In fact, Meyer lied to Seavers about Moreno’s wishes – she had no idea Meyer was calling Seavers.

Meanwhile, Tom Ryder (who’s starring in Moreno’s movie) has fallen in with a rough crowd and has gone missing. Meyer is anxious to track him down before the movie goes belly-up. That becomes Seavers’ job, alongside shooting stunt scenes and winning back Moreno’s broken trust … and heart. But instead of shooting blanks the bad guys mean business.

At the helm of The Fall Guy is former real life stuntman David Leitch (Bullet Train). The script is from screenwriter Drew Pearce, based on The Fall Guy television series (1981-86), which starred Lee Majors as Colt Seavers.

The key to the movie is orchestrated mayhem. Explosions, car chases and roll overs are par for the course and it all looks impressive. Overlaying it is good natured nonsense … and a tribute to the unsung heroes of Hollywood, the stunt performers. Pearce’s script provides no shortage of in-jokes referencing other movies. Some of the stunts in this action-heavy movie are truly spectacular.

Individually and together, Gosling and Blunt are perfectly cast. They have an easygoing and natural chemistry. They click from their first scene together and manage to pull off the cheesy one-liners liberally sprinkled through the film. Hannah Waddingham (Ted Lasso) is a regular presence as the pushy producer hiding a dark secret. Her deliberately ingratiating performance serves to irritate, as it’s meant to. And Aaron Taylor-Johnson well captures the petulance of the action hero who thinks far too much of himself.

Shot on home soil, which should go down a treat with local audiences (Sydney looks great). The Fall Guy is loads of fun. This is pure escapism and farce … lightweight entertainment that you can just let wash over you, but enjoy at the same time. The filmmakers have thrown the kitchen sink at it with big name stars; and it works. And don’t leave before the final credits because the behind-the-scenes footage of the stunts is well worth seeing.

Alex First

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