"I take orders from the Octoboss."

The Fall Guy

I first heard of David Leitch as one of “the JOHN WICK GUYS” – the two MATRIX RELOADED stuntmen who directed JOHN WICK and changed action cinema. Chad Stahelski was the one credited, and has continued helming that visionary series, while Leitch launched a more normal directing career – half projects from their production company 87North (formerly 87Eleven), half for-hire type gigs. I love his neon-drenched spy movie ATOMIC BLONDE, and his other films (DEADPOOL 2, HOBBS & SHAW, BULLET TRAIN) all have good action, some style, and some other things I like about them, but their increasingly scattershot humor has kept me from fully embracing them. So I’m glad that with THE FALL GUY, a loose redo of the ‘80s TV show premise, he’s found his perfect subject.

The story is light and breezy, and everyone gets to be funny, but the humor leans mostly on one easygoing star persona – Ryan Gosling (director of LOST RIVER) as stuntman Colt Seavers – rather than having every character constantly compete for attention with wacky riffs. And best of all, obviously, it’s a love letter to the stunt profession, so there’s a very specific expertise and passion that makes Leitch more qualified than anyone else to tell this story. He even has a songwriting credit on an end credits “there should be an Oscar for stunts” song!

Colt is the regular double for action superstar Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson, SAVAGES). Yes, Tom Ryder from THE PUNCHER. (I don’t remember the other movie posters in his trailer, but that one stuck with me.) So he’s walking on sunshine because he’s at the top of his profession, and he’s also been having an on-set fling and flirtation with super cool camera operator Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt, SICARIO). But when he breaks his back in a fall gone wrong he’s so humiliated and depressed he goes incommunicado for a year and she decides to move on.

Though mostly recovered, he doesn’t think he can go back to stunts, settling for life as a valet at a Mexican restaurant. Then Ryder’s long time producer Gail Meyer (Hannah Waddingham, “Factory Worker,” LES MISERABLES) calls begging him to come work on a big sci-fi movie in Sydney. Says the director asked for him specifically. The answer is no until she adds that the director is Jody, getting her big break.

When Colt arrives on set he finds out his old friend Dan Tucker (Winston Duke, US) is stunt coordinator, and he tries to talk his way out of the job. Next thing you know he’s doing the big car stunt they plan to use for the presentation at Comic-Con. Only afterwards does he finally get to see Jody and find out that she did not in fact ask for or want him there. She agrees to let him keep filming, treating him a little like Sam Raimi treats Bruce Campbell, and embarrassing him by describing their relationship troubles over a megaphone, pretending she’s describing his character Space Cowboy.

The truth is that Gail (who amuses me by always fiddling with a cold beverage, even during important talks) needs him there because Tom Ryder has gone missing, maybe in a drug binge, after getting mixed up with some dangerous people. Colt must find him and convince him to come back to set to save Jody’s movie. So we’ve got a romantic comedy mixed with a making-movies movie mixed with a mystery where he uses the skills of his profession in a series of spectacular chases and fights designed to showcase stuntwork. Chris O’Hara (Zachary Ty Bryan’s stunt double in THE RAGE: CARRIE 2) receives the newly coined stunt designer credit, and the fight coordinators are Jonathan Eusebio (JOHN WICK 1, 2 and 3) and Sunny Sun (EXTRACTION II). They’ve also got the excellent JOHN WICK d.p. Jonathan Sela and editor Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir.

Of course there’s all kinds of cool insider stunt industry stuff. You’ll see numerous logos for 87North, the Stuntwomen’s Association and yes, Hal Needham’s (still existent) company Stunts Unlimited, which in my opinion makes this a sequel to HOOPER. There are natural gimmicks like a fight breaking out in Tom Ryder’s fancy apartment using props from his memorabilia collection as weapons (see also: SHOWDOWN AT THE GRAND). My favorite touch there is that Colt moves some couches around knowing he’s later going to fall off a balcony onto them.

I took it as a funny jab at other movies, and maybe specific script-notes-givers, when they’re struggling with “third act problems” and someone suggests having a character state in the movie that they’re having third act problems. (Jody declines to do that.) If it was self-referential, seems to me they worked things out. I think it’s got the right amount of meta; they’re having fun taking place in the world of movies, but not laying it on too thick. Stunt coordinator Dan quoting inspirational speeches from movies or just yelling “STUNTS!” to hype himself up for a fight made me smile. I didn’t know while watching that when Colt is congratulated for making a Guinness Book record for most cannon rolls at eight and a half that’s because the actual stunt driver Logan Holladay did make that record by filming that scene! You don’t get to see that kind of meta every day.

The movie they’re filming is called METALSTORM, and it honestly didn’t occur to me that it might be a remake of METALSTORM: THE DESTRUCTION OF JARED-SYN. Doesn’t seem based on it to me, but they do keep saying its tagline, “it’s HIGH NOON at the edge of the universe!” I like that it’s a goofy ass REBEL MOON looking movie that we can laugh at but they don’t go the cynical route and have Jody be above it, compromising for career reasons. Colt says that METALSTORM is her dream, and tries to be supportive of it. Everyone seems sincere. It doesn’t feel like the usual “yes Hollywood is stupid, but we know that, so we’re in on the joke.” More like “you may think it’s stupid, but this is what we love to do.”

I did in fact experience it in Imax. Thanks for the suggestion.

When you finally find out what exactly is going on, there’s a really clever conceit at the center. BIG-ASS SPOILERS THIS PARAGRAPH ONLY. It turns out the reason Tom Ryder has been missing is that he’s in hiding after accidentally killing the stunt double who replaced Colt. He was wasted at a party bragging about doing his own stunts and his double laughed about it, he tried to prove himself by kicking the double, and fatally knocked his head into something. The plan is to digitally stitch Colt’s face over Tom’s on the cell cam footage of the accident. While watching the movie I don’t think I fully appreciated what a perfect villainous scheme this is for a stuntman movie: an action star trying to frame a stuntman by reversing the process of stunt doubling.

(One thing I wondered is if they went through the trouble to really fake the footage or if they just had Gosling shoot it. If it’s the former those deep fakes have gotten scary good.)

This must’ve been pretty loose and improvisatory judging by how much stuff is in the trailers that didn’t make the movie, but to me it feels much more tight and disciplined than the last couple Leitch movies. It’s a good story courtesy of screenwriter Drew Pearce (IRON MAN THREE, HOTEL ARTEMIS) that’s only convoluted in a mystery novel sort of way, and at its heart is simple enough that it makes a nice structure to focus on the characters and steer them smoothly into the laughs and the stunts. It’s the perfect leading man vehicle for Gosling, a best-of-both-worlds character where he’s cool and highly capable but also a goof that we get to laugh at. I just think he’s so funny, and they set him up with great opportunities like when it briefly turns into a buddy movie between him and a trained dog named Jean-Claude* who he just talks to as if it’s a person who understands him. Maybe the biggest laugh in the movie for me is when he yells to Jean-Claude to “Engage your core!” before jumping the car they’re in.

*Note: Leitch doubled Jean-Claude Van Damme in REPLICANT and THE ORDER

Pearce has fun setting up those little things that pay off satisfyingly whether they surprise you or you’re waiting for them. Maybe the best is Colt’s amazing Miami Vice Stunt Team jacket, which he struts around in like he thinks he’s, uh… Ryan Gosling with the scorpion jacket in DRIVE. He explains that it’s from his “first show” and I was thinking it must mean he worked on the movie MIAMI VICE even though it’s the logo for the TV show, but the answer is that it was the stunt show at Universal Studios. I didn’t guess the specific way this detail would come back into play, and then when it does it’s so obvious and so perfect that Gosling even turns and smiles in the direction of the camera, as if the character on screen noticed how much I appreciated it and wanted to show that he felt it too. Just an effortlessly thrilling cinematic moment.

Whether or not he’s consciously set out to do this, it’s another entry in Gosling’s catalog of characterizations that explore men’s attempts to suppress their emotions. In DRIVE, ONLY GOD FORGIVES and THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES he mastered the stoic man whose quiet makes him seem cool but he’s actually horribly broken and only knows how to express himself through explosive violence. In BARBIE he learns a form of masculinity from images of Stallone and Travolta, has fun trying it on like a costume but realizes it’s not him, a journey has trouble putting into spoken words but does turn into his show-stopping Oscar-snubbed musical number. Now in THE FALL GUY we have the great scene where Jody catches Colt having a private moment in his car, crying and listening to Taylor Swift. The details and the doomed attempt to hide his embarrassment are comedic, but it’s very on point for the character and his unhealthy instinct to never let anyone see that he’s hurt.

More than that, Gosling paints what I found to be a deeply relatable portrait of fucking up a relationship by not knowing how to articulate his feelings and instead retreating into silence. I’m not as handsome, charismatic or talented as Colt Seavers but in this one way we’re twins in my opinion. So I don’t know, maybe others won’t have this experience, but for me the way he pours his heart out to Jody about this very true experience in the middle of the action climax made the romance a home run. It works as the FIRST BLOOD blubbering monologue, or the DIE HARD “tell her that John said that he was sorry” moment, even while sticking to the light and funny register of this particular movie. It got me a little misty, actually. I needed a therapist to teach me that it’s less hurtful to say it wrong than to say nothing, but now I have a movie (with stunts) to remind me.

I think my favorite Leitch solo movie might still be ATOMIC BLONDE, because I love its over-enthusiastic sense of style, its showstopping action setpieces, details like having Academy Award winner Charlize Theron fight BLOODSPORT sequel star Daniel Bernhardt in front of a screen showing Tarkovsky’s STALKER, and the firehose gag that’s in the “stunts are great” montage at the beginning of this movie. But for the reasons above I might be able to be convinced THE FALL GUY is actually his best. At any rate it’s a just a big old smile of a movie, especially for those of us fascinated by the stunt life. I’m glad to have another David Leitch movie I can love unreservedly.


This entry was posted on Friday, May 10th, 2024 at 2:10 pm and is filed under Reviews, Action, Comedy/Laffs, Mystery, Romance. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

47 Responses to “The Fall Guy”

  1. grimgrinningchris

    May 10th, 2024 at 2:19 pm

    Not reading this whole thing til I’ve gotten to see it… but of note…

    BJ McDonnell (he of directing Hatchet 3 and Studio 666) headed the steadicam dept on this movie. Directs low budget, steadicams the big shit.

  2. A great big YES on just how relatable and powerful Colt’s fuckup is – it’s such a real moment, and it’s a risky move for the script because it runs counter to how movies usually operate; I can almost imagine people getting annoyed because it’s supposedly an easily avoidable dumb mistake. Things sometimes just work that way; I’ve lost a friendship to something similar.

    I think I mentioned this earlier, but I hated the jokes on the trailer so much! I was dreading their appearance on the movie… and… they’re nowhere to be seen, replaced with mostly much better material. The movie still felt a bit bloated, and the plot kind of got too ridiculous – things like a [MINOR SPOILERS] a stunt team acting like they’re a PMC or something… but it’s all good. Jody warns us that it’s all about the love story, that it might get a little silly if you take things literally.

    One thing I hated, and this is a BIG-ASS SPOILER, is that they explain away the initial stunt accident. That really, really bugged me because it’s the sort of… dumb writerly crap a much less emotionally honest movie would go for. Just let it be a damn accident. I didn’t like that the movie seemed so bad either, or that Ryder ends up being just as much of a joke on-screen as he is off it – I kinda feel like they let the comedy ruin the movie a little there.

    All minor things compared on how (and I HATE this term) feel-good the rest of the movie is. I’m surprised how much it’s grown on me.

    Biggest laugh: The split screen scene where Blunt is gesticulating with a giant alien hand. By the time she ends it by thoughtfully resting her chin on that goofy… I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. Genius.

  3. dreadguacamole

    May 10th, 2024 at 5:35 pm

    *Resting her chin on that goofy thing.

    Also, I love how 87north are recanting on fridging the dog in the first John Wick by making dogs secondary action heroes in… at least three of their last high-profile movies. As far as studio trademarks go, it’s a great one.

  4. This is the only movie this decade that I wanted to see again immediately after it was over. I’ve liked other movies from the Boring Twenties, but none of them made me as happy as this one.

    It’s funny that you guys related so thoroughly to Gosling’s character, because I felt much more aligned with Emily Blunt’s. For one, not expressing my feelings is very much not my problem. I definitely find it easier to say the wrong thing than to say nothing. (Also not a great option, in my experience.) But for the first 20 minutes or so of THE FALL GUY, I was Jody, and Colt was Da Movies.

    You see, me and Da Movies had a thing. It was pretty hot and heavy for a while. There was some deep emotions there, but mostly we just had fun together, you know? It’s a cliche, but he made me laugh. I thought we were gonna be together forever. But then something happened, and Da Movies pulled away from me. He went dark. Sullen. Stopped doing the things he was great at and started moping. Feeling sorry for himself. I tried to be with him, cheer him up, remind him of what a great guy he was, but he didn’t want to hear it. So I had no choice: To protect myself, I had to pull away. He could have won me back at any time but he couldn’t even be bothered to put in the effort. So I washed my hands of him. If he wants to wallow in his own misery, so be it. I can’t follow him down that road. It sucks, because I figure if I can’t be with Da Movies, I don’t wanna be with anybody.

    But I get over it. I move on. I find other stuff I’m excited about. I don’t even think about Da Movies much anymore. And then here he comes, waltzing back into my life right when I think I’m over him, like everything is forgiven. I’m skeptical. I give him a hard time. Oh, great, some cool tracking shots. Big deal. That’s not fair, you know I love that Kiss song. GODZILLA X KONG already used it anyway. And who is that English bitch? Isn’t she from (gasp!) some TV show? Nope. Uh uh. You’re cute, Da Movies, but I’m not that easy.

    Except I am. I’m a big slut and Da Movies won me back. And all it took was a low-stakes comic mystery plot in the Shane Black style, some practical stuntwork pitched at just the right nexus of goofy and believable, some screwball romantic banter, and a very good boy named Jean-Claude who sics balls en francais. Plus they went the extra mile and turned that Kiss song into the movie’s theme, with multiple instrumental interpolations. And threw in a credits song rehashing the plot. And gave me yet more jacket and Hawaiian shirt wardrobe ideas.

    Da Movies, I just can’t quit you. You handsome sonofabitch, I hate you. Let’s get married.

  5. It’s crazy how people are unable to figure out why this apparently really good movie (Haven’t seen it yet) is heavily underperforming, when the answer is simple: The trailers were fucking awful and made it look like the worst cookie cutter crap and an instant “Actor appears in near-career-ender after delivering a universally beloved Oscar nominated performance the year before” punchline.

    Good to hear that the movie is the complete opposite though.

    The TV show seems to be widely forgotten in the US, but here in Germany it is quite popular and one of those 80s shows that still regularly run on TV, together with A-TEAM, KNIGHT RIDER and RIPTIDE. And I admit it is kinda annoying that they turned Jodie here into “the love interest”, while she was on the show basically “one of the guys”. Sure, she was also the eye candy. The opening credits had a downright iconic shot of her in a blue bikini, but having a female character in your testosterone show and there is no will they/won’t they bullshit and the male characters are more like brothers to her? That’s even in 2024 still progressive storytelling!

  6. I kinda thought the movie wobbled back and forth on whether we’re meant to take Metalstorm seriously beyond career advancement for Jody. It made me think of how these ‘movies within a movie’ always look so fun–Buzz Lightyear, Machete, Thanksgiving–but then they always turn it into a ‘real movie’ instead of trying to keep up the absurdist tone all the way through. Like how they’re trying to make a He-Man movie and it’s going to be about how Prince Adam was raised on Earth and, presumably, goes back to Eternia to fight Skeletor. For some reason, it seems like Roland Emmerich is the only guy still making big dumb action movies instead of trying to make a Commando movie that tugs on your heartstrings and really makes you *care* whether Arnold gets his daughter back.

    Movie’s fine though. Lost me a little bit when they opened with a dramatic portrayal of how even a stunt that the hero treats as totally run-of-the-mill can still cripple or kill him–then they play for laughs how Jody keeps making him repeat a dangerous stunt because she’s pissed at him. (Dread, maybe that’s why they added in the villain doing what he did–they realized, hey, wait, didn’t he do exactly what Jody did? Okay, let’s add in him doing something much worse so she doesn’t look so bad…)

  7. Now that my coffee kicked in, here is a completely random connection to the deepfake element of the plot: Jodie was in the TV show played by Heather Thomas who also appeared in ZAPPED, that 80s comedy about a guy who could undress women with telekinesis. (Yes, that was a thing, so don’t give me that “Movies used to be better back in the days” crap!) And in one scene she gets zapped. We don’t see her face during the actual scene since it wasn’t her, but in the movie someone takes a photo of her and we later see it, face and boobs. However, this turned out to be a photomontage with Thomas’ face on a body double.

    And it was done without asking her!

    So the producers had to put a disclaimer in the end credits that this wasn’t really Heather Thomas. (I guess removing the photo would’ve been impossible? Ugh, the 80s…)

    Now excuse me, while I put one of those “This is a reference to…” bullshit items in the IMDb trivia section of this movie.

  8. I’ve seen other people say that too, CJ, but I thought the trailers were great. And went and saw the movie.

  9. I might have to check out the other trailers, but after the first I kinda noped out of it. Although I do have to admit that I always take comedy trailers with a grain of salt, considering that they always make the movie look worse. Still, I believe that this is a classic case of a movie that was let down by its advertising. It’s doing well here though and that even without using the show’s German title A COLT FOR EVERY CASE. (I think that’s an accurate translation.)

  10. I have come to hate all trailers, so I’m glad I never saw one for this. All a trailer can do for me is talk me out of seeing a movie, so I try to avoid them whenever possible.

  11. I liked the trailers. My only complaint was I think they played them too much. I wouldn’t be surprised if some people didn’t see the movie because they thought they didn’t need to after seeing the trailer a million times. Once piece of marketing I thought was great was a little video I saw online of Gosling and some stunt men carpooling. You should look it up if you haven’t seen it.

    Vern, I think they did just put Gosling’s face on that video. It looked that way to me anyway.

    I loved this movie. I don’t have anything to add to the discussion other than listing all the things I thought were great, which other people have already brought up – the stunts, the humor, the romance, the great chemistry. Actually did anyone say that yet? Maybe it just goes without saying that Blunt and Gosling have great chemistry. I’ve said for years that Blunt has the best chemistry with other actors of anyone out there. She even had it with The Rock for godsakes and he’s a chemistry black hole. Well, Gosling and Blunt did an interview where he brought it up and said they call her The Chemist. It’s nice to have confirmation I’m not the only one to see it.

    Oh yeah, and Gosling is super hot. Maybe another thing that goes without saying. But Colt’s commitment to helping Jody achieve her dream really amped that up. Plus coming out of the water in jeans and a muscle tee.

  12. Dreadguacamole

    May 11th, 2024 at 8:50 am

    That is a fair point about trailers – I hate pretty much all of them these days, the format and formulas they use just rubs me the wrong way. But I thought the ones for this movie were particularly awful (they made it look like a less funny version of BULLET TRAIN; Only reason I watched this is because I’ll watch anything Leitch makes).

    The one exception to the all trailers are awful rule these days is probably LONGLEGS, but I was already excited for that because Osgood Perkins + Nicholas Cage.

    Can we please agree to start calling this movie A COLT FOR EVERY CASE from now on?

  13. Maggie: I thought it was refreshing, after decades of romantic comedy leading men using chicanery and ulterior motives to get the girl, that Gosling’s only motivation was to help her achieve her dreams. Sure, if somewhere along the way she decided he deserved a second chance, he’d be down with that, but that was not his primary goal. If she never even learned that he was the guy who saved her movie, he wouldn’t have minded. He’s a stuntman. He’s used to everyone else getting the glory.

    I didn’t think of this at the time, but the day I saw THE FALL GUY, I came home and watched HIS GIRL FRIDAY, the original “guy uses every dirty trick in the book to get the girl” movie, and that was great, too. Maybe Gosling and Blunt should do a remake of that one, except Gosling is really better for the Ralph Bellamy well-meaning square role. I can’t see him talking fast enough for the Cary Grant role. They’d have to get Ryan Reynolds. He’s the only actor of his generation I could see getting away with being that mean and cynical while still being a viable romantic lead.

  14. Obviously this is all subjective, but I had the same reaction to the trailers as CJ. I thought the first one in particular looked particularly bad. None of the jokes landed for me. The second trailer was marginally better.

    But who knows why some movies succeed while others fail. And what makes for a good trailer? I remember thinking the first John Carter trailer with Peter Gabriel doing a cover and a bunch of cryptic imagery look cool as hell. But not only was that movie a bomb, its poor performance was blamed on that particular trailer.

  15. That first trailer must’ve really been tailor made for me and only me because every time it came on in the theater I had to keep myself from squealing and giggling aloud afterwards. Something about it must really hit directly on my id.

    Majestyk, Gosling and Reynolds are both well documented as having the “cool factor” which shares a lot of qualities like being a smart ass but underneath their surfaces are opposing energies. Gosling, even when he’s being excitable feels more laid back. And Reynolds, even when he’s being calm feels more manic. If any of that made sense.

  16. On the topic of cool German titles for classic TV shows, RIPTIDE is known here as TRIO WITH FOUR FISTS

  17. How’s that math add up? Do two of them only have one hand?

  18. One of them is a computer nerd and doesn’t do any fisticuffs. (Thom Bray, aka the guy who gets murdered by Alice Cooper with a bicycle in PRINCE OF DARKNESS)

  19. Haven’t seen this. Might. I have no strong feelings overall, though “Puncher” remind me of just how much I love fake movies inside of other movies. Like many, I watched and loved every episode of the Emmy winning “Succession”. At the same time, I kept thinking about all the movies that existed within that universe that the Roy family were supposedly overseeing, particularly the “Kalispitron” franchise centered around Transformers-type robots. So much drama happening, and I could help but wonder how they had managed to make a successful five-movie “Kalispitron” series within the show.

    Which brings me to this thought… Emily Blunt’s character has a dream, according to these reviews I’ve read. But is the dream to become a major action filmmaker? Or is it honestly to remake “Metalstorm: The Destruction Of Jared-Syn”? If it’s the latter, that’s not a particularly encouraging motivation. If you’re Ryan Gosling, then yes, you should support her in this endeavor. But it might be hard to be invested in this movie if in the back of my head I was thinking, “Yes, we really don’t need a Metalstorm remake.”

  20. I just thought of the one moment that I thought was a really weird choice and didn’t work for me at all was when Colt pushed his friend out of the way and they used the six million dollar man bionic sound effect. What was that? Did they forget which Lee Majors TV series they were doing?

  21. I keep reading about that “John Wicks”, and still have not seen it… nor do I actually feel any wish to change that, because whenever it is mentioned anywhere, all of its description make it appear like some terrible Bronson ripoff for the dumb-phone generation, and if so… what would be the point of watching it? Especially with so many post- (and pre-) Bronson avenger/vigilante films from the 70s and 80s still waiting to be re-discovered. The giant mine of Italian giustizieri films alone is a Sesame of avenging entertainment!

  22. That’s fine, Toscana. We all must choose our own paths. Sometimes they are lonely, sad paths where we deprive ourselves of the best modern action movies as a strange way to disparage the youths and their gadgets. But we must choose for ourselves.

  23. @Toscana, you’re looking for people to SELL you on John Wick?

    I’m not ride-or-die with the Wick franchise, and judging by your words, I can tell you have reservations about the plot, and they are not unmerited.
    I will say the pleasures of those movies do not come from the simple premise or the contradictory convoluted mythology. Rather, it’s the first American-made action films to genuinely understand the lessons that should have been gleaned from a) John Woo’s balletic gunplay and 2) The long-take martial arts choreography of 80’s Hong Kong cinema. They are the films that the Expendables movies SHOULD have been, particularly in regards to casting, whether it be Willem Dafoe (pt. 1), Scott Adkins (pt. 4) or even the delightful Boban Marjanovich (pt. 3).

    I don’t think anyone can blame you for sticking with those Italian revenge films of the 70’s and 80’s. But the John Wick movies do exactly what they’ve been said to do. Each time, headed into the new movie, I would say, I’ve been watching the last one on cable a few times, I’m a little burnt out. And then each new movie in that series manages to top what came before.

    To return to The Fall Guy, I am surprised that Leitch left after that first John Wick and has now embraced this glib, weightless attitude in his following films that never seems to appear in the Wick movies. I’m not exactly clamoring for more of the Stalhelski world-building of “And this with the High Table, and THAT with the High Table, and these are the rules, and here is the one exception” bla bla bla. But I remember watching that one moment in “Hobbs And Shaw” when that big CGI smokestack collapses behind the titular characters as they drive away, with ZERO repercussions, thinking, Leitch is never again going to make anything that seems as real as John Wick, and John Wick isn’t even THAT tactile. It all makes me wonder if Leitch was maybe pulling for levity in that first John Wick (which does have like one or two laughs) and Stalhelski just giving him some “Shut the fuck up, Donnie” kiss-offs.

  24. I always find it interesting that so many people keep looking at movies and cinema to find a reason why a movie is underperforming. Like the trailer discussion here, or I see a lot of talk about the cinema experience degrading or whatever. And like it’s not unmerrited but also my mortgage repayments have doubled in like 2 years and my mates rent has gone up like 300$ a week, in the past year groceries have almost doubled in price around me, fuel rarely drops below $2 a litre anymore etc.

    Shits expensive as hell, going to the cinema is a pretty low priority for a lot of people. Maybe a 150 million dollar romantic comedy in a cost of living crisis was just a bad idea?

    @Glaive Robber
    I think there’s a part of hobbes and shaw that was just embracing the franchise it exists in though, like you can’t make a fast and the furious spin off that’s filled with grounded down to earth action. Like that’s the follow up to the movie where they fight a submarine, and I’m pretty sure they’d allready done the Dubai skyscraper to skyscraper jump at that point yeah?
    I think Leitch has it in him though, Atomic Blonde was deffintly playing in the same space as John Wick in terms of ‘feeling real’ shit looked like it HURT in that movie, and I’d argue even more then in Wick.
    Everything after Atomic Blonde has been addapting someone elses source material though, like you kinda need to embrace that tone for Deadpool and fast and the furious, and I’ve got no idea what the book bullet train was based on is like.
    I’d be curious to see what he’d do with an original property again.

  25. @Ben, actually, Atomic Blonde is also based on a comic, but I agree that it’s an outlier. But I dunno… wouldn’t it have bee really cool to make Hobbs and Shaw” as an actual non-comedic down and dirty action movie? I mean, fuck the Fast and Furious continuity. As an action fan (which I’m sure Leitch is), I feel like it’s a gift from god to get to make an actioner with Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham (to say nothing of Idris Elba). Why WOULDN’T you want to make a movie with those actors that was hardcore, down-to-earth and serious? You already have Ryan Reynolds and Kevin Hart showing up to yukk it up, that should give you a license to have Johnson and Statham uniting for more than just another programmer. Honestly, I think I’m setting a low bar. If you make a Johnson/Statham movie with REAL ACTION, you will make money. if you make it with Superhero Movie Action (which they did), you’ll still make money, but you’ll potentially make less profit.

    I dunno. I still lose sleep over Hobbs And Shaw being sort of a lesser Tango And Cash. That shouldn’t be.

  26. I enjoy the wacky over the top action just as much as I enjoy the down to earth action so I don’t really have a dog in the fight for preferring it to go either way but I do wonder, especially on hobbes and shaw how much he would have been allowed to do a more hardcore down to earth movie. The ego problems with Johnson and Stathm are notorious for that movie and Johnson was really pushing his loveable friendly good guy persona at that point. This is the rock that wouldn’t even play Black Adam as a villian. Like even if Leitch had come in wanting to do an Atomic Blonde style action film if Johnson just said “No” i think its probbably done. They’re way more likely to fire Leitch if he doesn’t want to go Johnson’s way rather then the opposite ya know.
    I see Hobbes and Shaw as basically a vehicle to sell The Rocks, invincible unbreakable no selling giant loveable muscle man persona and Leitch was basically just the guy to get it to look as good as he could.

    I’m kinda excited to see them do a sequel since Black Adam seems like it kinda, snapped him out of that and he’s back to being a piece of shit heel in WWE he seems like he’s more willing to play outside of that established comfort zone.

  27. Johnson and Statham famously have clauses in their contract for the Fast movies that contractually limit the amount of punches they are allowed to take on screen, and when their characters fight they are contractually obligated to take the same amount of damage. Even if Leitch wanted to do something grittier (I doubt he did, judging by his other movies), a Fast movie was never ever going to be the vehicle for it.

  28. Is that a “famous”, “contractually obligated” thing or just something someone said that got picked up and spread around until it was ‘common knowledge’? I recall one director (for Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning?) saying that JCVD was willing to lose a fight, but didn’t want to be made to look weak, and in a way that implied most action stars are somewhat protective of their image (hell, most actors, period). But an outright “I can only get punched this many times” contract seems absurd. I mean, stranger things have happened, but where’s the proof?

  29. The amount of punches thing is kind of a weird mutation of the actual story wich is… actually way more insane.
    Vin Diesel counts the amount of hits he receives in a movie and assigns a value to each one and has a contracually mandates ‘value’ of damage his character is allowed to take in a movie.
    Wich is fucking insane, but also the exact kind of insane that I believe Vin Diesel to be. Like yeah of course he gives his character hit points and tracks it through a movie to still look tough.

    After seeing Vin implement this Dwane and Statham apparently fought for it to be in their contracts to. Though I’m unsure if they actually got it though. They do have lots of reports of standard meddling, script change shit to protect their image though.
    The number of hits on Hobbs vs Shaw specifically I beleive was less about “I’m only allowed to be hit twenty times” and more “I don’t wanna take more hits then Statham” and vice versa.

    And like short of their actual contracts being leaked all we have to go on is inside reports from production staff and shit so weather you want to count that as ‘proof’ or not is really up to you. I’ll say though there have been reports of Rocks ego getting in the way of multiple different films now and it feels like one of those ‘where there’s smoke there’s fire’ situations at this point.

    Also looking up stuff to check this found out the rock was filming two other movies at the same time as Hobbs vs Shaw (Jumanji and jungle cruise) and apparently filming with him was a nightmare due to just fitting into his schedule wich, shit that can’t have been easy.

  30. Count me in as someone who liked the trailers and dug the movie. Gosling and Blunt are two of the most charismatic actors we have right now. The story’s kinda dumb but it always works in the moment because of the performers– and I include the stunt performers in that. I liked the credit roll of behind-the-scenes footage which showed Gosling actually riding off the back of that truck– something I was sure was CGI or face replacement or whatnot. And I appreciate that scanning actors for AI purposes was part of the nefarious plot.

    Though– SPOILERS– if the phone was a mcguffin because it had a video and the phone was destroyed, how did they have the video to do the deepfake? Was it just that the phone was the only loose copy in the world?

  31. grimgrinningchris

    May 15th, 2024 at 7:52 am

    Dread, Maggie, Vern, Everyone etc…
    I just finally saw this last night and I am still buzzing.

    Dread- I think that the stunt needed to be sabotaged to lay out youknowwho as more of an actual villain and not just someone who caused an accident and then got caught up in the machinations of its coverup because they’re a weak idiot. If that person didn’t do something totally awful on purpose, on their own at some point, then their comeuppance would have seemed almost cruel.

    Maggie- You know that was an intentional jump-reference and I thought it landed perfectly for those that got it. I laughed.

    Vern- I talked to BJ this morning and he said he actually is on screen (on purpose) with his steadicam in one of the earlier scenes for a moment, but I missed it. I’m sure I’ll find it when it hits for home. But there is a bit of meta- the movie’s actual head steadicam operator appearing AS an in-world steadicam operator on screen- if only for a second.

    Also, I am stunned that nobody has mentioned the copious use of KISS’s much loved (and just as much hated) “I Was Made For Loving You” through the movie. From its original incarnation (I think twice) to different variations, remixes and different instrumental versions and covers making it make up at least half of the overall score. I was made for loving that.

    Also also… Outside of Blunt, Gosling and Duke… Jean Claude, the Cockatoo and the unicorn were the three backup stars of the show!

    I fucking loved this movie!

  32. Yeah, I think that was it. I assume they got the video from the cloud and then erased the original, but there was a copy on the phone. They weren’t trying to get the phone back so much as they were making sure the unaltered video on it was never made public.

  33. Chris: I mentioned the Kiss song. The first time it came back in a different form was actually the moment I realized I loved the movie. There’s no reason for that particular song to be the theme of the movie, except that it’s an awesome song and why the fuck not? That’s the kind of idiosyncratic grace note that turns what in lesser hands (*cough THE ROCK cough*) could have been flavorless action-comedy pablum into something with a personality and a point of view. It’s that human touch so much studio product has been lacking lately. AI ain’t coming up with that shit. Focus groups won’t get you there. An algorithm would kick it back. Studio execs wouldn’t understand it. Only a human being who trusts their own tastes and experiences would think of it. It’s countertintuitive as fuck and that’s why it’s great.

  34. grimgrinningchris

    May 15th, 2024 at 9:42 am

    I missed you mentioning it, Maj. I was trying to stay spoiler free(ish) scanning the comments (and review) before I saw it and when doing another overview AFTER seeing it, missed that. But yes, right on!

  35. If the Scooter version of the song isn’t in it at some point, they were wussing out. (But you gotta be very brave for that, so I won’t blame them.)

  36. @Grim – I get that, but that’s a problem of their own making. They could have toned down the comeuppance and left him a weak, disgraced idiot. I think that, for that character, having that made public would have been an even crueller (and more fitting) end than being exploded.
    The movie already had a great villain in the producer anyhow; They could have given her Ryder’s (great!) death. And yeah, I get why they didn’t do that either, but personally I’d have liked it a lot better.

    It’s not a huge deal, but it’s (for me!) a sour, artificial note on a movie that’s otherwise blessedly free of anything else like that.

  37. I think it’s funny that I’ve only seen two movies in the theater this year (well, three if you count a special screening of RAD) and both of them used “I Was Made For Loving You.” The difference in how they’re used, however, is instructive. THE FALL GUY used it to guide the rhythm and energy of not just a single sequence, but the whole movie. GODZILLA MULTIPLIED BY A FACTOR OF KONG just drops in the first eight bars at the beginning of a scene, before anything even happens, then cuts it off before it has a chance to inform the tone of the scene. It’s just a meaningless needle-drop that probably cost as much to license as an entire Roger Corman movie. That’s the kind of shit that the trailer company who edited SUICIDE SQUAD did to help turn that movie into an artless hodgepodge of missed opportunities. And it’s a shame, because Wingard has proven in the past to know how to use an old song in such a way as to give the sequence it’s used in a unique identity, and even to redefine how the song is heard in the future. I can’t hear that Elvis song from GODZILLA VS KONG without thinking of a sad gorilla, and “Looking for the Magic” has become synonymous with YOU’RE NEXT to me. THE GUEST is full of moments that use needle drops well. But that knack abandoned him in GODZILLA HEARTS KONG. He took a song that a better filmmaker could score a whole movie with and used it like 80s filmmakers would use the first 20 seconds of “I Feel Good.” Just generic filler. It’s as tossed off as everything else in that movie. It could have been any song. In THE FALL GUY, it could *only* have been “I Was Made For Loving You.”

  38. For those who have seen it – SPOILERS – speaking of the comeuppance being harsh, did you stay for after the credits where they reveal that he actually survived and then kill him again?

  39. grimgrinningchris

    May 16th, 2024 at 6:32 am

    Vern. I missed that. I made the friend who footed the tickets stay long enough to see BJs credits but he wanted to leave right after. But now I have multiple things to see once this sadly dying movie hits home and streaming.

  40. It’s a pretty happy-go-lucky movie. I imagine they wanted the villain to be a jerk who gets his comeuppance instead of a semi-sympathetic figure who tragically downfalls (tho that would be a valid story direction). And SPOILER there’s a bit of a subtext of MeToo/Ezra Miller in “entitled jackass and producer who enables him for monetary gain” that I imagine is still pretty raw. It’s probably going to be a while before Hollywood gives that archetype the “is he really that bad?” treatment.

  41. grimgrinningchris

    May 16th, 2024 at 12:12 pm

    I agree with all of that, Kaplan and still think, in respectful counter to Dread that that character needed to do something fully shitty and not just weak and stupid.

  42. Finally caught this one and really really enjoyed it… i think Leitch has managed to find the right balance between funny and action, without becoming too silly (like some if his other films – although i still enjoy them all). Perfect movie to kick off the summer season at the cinema…
    Just one detail though – the movie is taking place in Australia, and if i am correct, was also filmed in Australia… so why are most vehicles having the steering wheel on the left side of the car? (I think it is only the garbage truck that has the steering wheel on the right)…

  43. Because they’re mostly driving stunt vehicles that have been modified for an American movie. There’s dialogue about it.

  44. Yeah most movies that shoot here aren’t set here so they go all out to make it not look like Australia, left hand drive cars, american street signs etc.

  45. I had to see Furiosa twice before I was willing to see anything else, but I am glad I finally caught this before it leaves theaters. This movie is just an overflowing popcorn bucket of fun.
    One thing I thought was really nifty that I haven’t seen mentioned much anywhere: This is pretty much the anti-John Wick in terms of action violence. I like a good shoot’em up as much as the next action fan, but as gun violence becomes more and more prevalent in our lives, it becomes harder to disconnect and enjoy a hero shooting dozens of goons. And like Vern, I have often grappled with my liberal-leaning beliefs conflicting with action movies that lean more fascist, or seem to justify violence. So I thought it was super cool that The Fall Guy gives us an action hero who is not a soldier, a cop, or a hitman. Not a killer or a fighter. His job and his coolness are not about how good he is at hurting or killing people. We get big stunts and fights, but Colt is always trying to survive or save someone. The only gun he uses is a prop gun with blank rounds. He can take a fall, take a punch, or make a jump, and the movie cleverly builds its action around his stunt skills. For everyone who assumes an action hero has to gun down hordes of enemies or grimace while they break an opponent’s bones, The Fall Guy serves as a reminder that those limits are only imposed by a lack of creativity, not the genre itself. I often try and think of ways to make a different kind of action movie, and Leitch provided a great lesson here.
    I really liked the *SPOILER* central accident and how stupid and unnecessary it was. As someone who has always worried about a minor-but-deadly accident like that, I felt very justified in my Troy McClure-esque “You know I was one of the first to speak out against horseplay” stance. I also felt the reveal about the first accident was a hat on top of a hat, and it felt unnecessary and a little contrived compared to the rest of the easy-going movie. But seeing it discussed more here, and thinking about the ultimate fate of ATJ’s character, I guess it makes sense they had to give him a little more intent behind his awfulness. He had to be, in Tim Robinson terms, a real piece of shit.

    I actually never realized “I Was Made For Loving You” was a Kiss song, I didn’t think I liked any Kiss songs but that one is pretty great. I really appreciated how it became a musical motif with multiple interpolations to fit the action, building the whole time til the full version of the song came on in the climax and hit hard. I hope other filmmakers take note of how much more effective this was than just dropping in a random song for a big moment. Like Majestyk said, it didn’t HAVE to be this song, there isn’t really any specific connection or reason, but the way it was used throughout made it work like gangbusters.

  46. Ryan Gosling as an ace stuntman in a riveting thriller that hooks you from the get go.

    What’s not to like?

    But enough about DRIVE.

    THE FALL(EN) GUY…sigh….

    I actually caught the extended version on streaming, a whopping 2 and a half hours, and Ye Gods, was I bored shitless for large chunks of this epic misfire.

    Never mind that barring the fact you have a Colt Seavers here and he’s a stuntman, that this bears NO FUCKING resemblance to the 5 season TV show I watched religiously (not to mention The 6 Million Dollar Man is the show that got me hooked to TV, meaning Lee Majors occupies a seminal space in my Television Zeitgeist), this Frankenstein-ed unholy hybrid of a rom com starring the 2 most Photogenic Leads of BARBENHEIMER and what’s now become your standard issue David Leitch actioner that can’t get by without a needle drop or wise crack every 10 fucking minutes, fails to fire on every level.

    I maintain ATOMIC BLONDE still remains Leitch’s crowning glory with a steady slide from then on to this bomb, which is Leitch’s worst in my opinion (yes, BULLET TRAIN, you’re off the hook!)

  47. I see some of the comments here saying some of the stupid trailer stuff didn’t make it into the movies. I think all of that stupid shit found it’s way into the extended cut

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