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How The Fall Guy (2024) is a Love Letter to Stunt Crews in Hollywood

The Fall Guy (2024) movie poster

Who doesn’t love Ryan Gosling? The man can act, sing, dance and make you laugh! Talk about a true catch. Ok, enough fangirling from me. For those who know me, Ryan Gosling is one of my favorite actors of the era, having been in some highly critically acclaimed films such as Blade Runner 2049, The Ides of March and Barbie just to name a few. And with the release of his newest movie The Fall Guy, where Gosling plays a stuntman (no, I’m not talking about Drive), I think it’s about high time to give it a look.

After a nasty fall, stuntman Colt Seavers (played by Ryan Gosling) is called back into action by producer Gail Meyer (played by Hannah Waddington) to track down the whereabouts of missing celebrity Tom Ryder (played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson). Colt reunites with director Jody Moreno (played by Emily Blunt), whom he had a fling with in the past. Things are tense between the two as they work on rekindling any feelings they had for each other all while Colt tries to find Ryder. As Seavers comes closer to finding Ryder, he soon discovers that this supposed “easy job” is actually something far more sinister than he could handle.  

The Fall Guy (2024) images

The Fall Guy was made by David Leitch as a love letter to stunt crews in the film industry. Having started his career in Hollywood as a stuntman himself, Leitch wanted to make sure that the audience appreciated stunt performers for all the hard work they do. Not only do they perform the dangerous (and often fatal) work that big name actors either refuse or are disallowed by film studios to do, but also they get practically no credit for putting their lives quite literally on the line for our entertainment. Despite being an action-romantic comedy, the movie takes time out of its busy plot to make sure stunt actors get their due respect. Leitch does this by showcasing just how each action sequence for Jody’s sci-fi film Metalstorm is shot: we see the preparation of the stunts, the various takes and the aftermath of each stunt. And even though Seavers undergoes tremendous pain throughout a busy day shooting, he forges on. Because that’s what stuntmen do.   

When I first saw the trailers for The Fall Guy back in the summer of 2023, I was expecting your typical action romantic comedy, much like The Lost City. And…that’s what I got. Is that a good thing? Well, yes and no. Let me explain why. Gosling and Blunt truly do sell the chemistry. They effortlessly bounce off of each other to the point of actually feeling like an old married couple. So what’s wrong? Unlike The Lost City, the romantic back and forth in The Fall Guy still feels constrained in the age-old rom-com formula. Some rom-coms (especially those in the early to mid-2000s) sold the notion that toxicity and romance are intertwined. And while Gosling and Blunt’s banter in The Fall Guy is played for laughs, it really does make the entire film set of Metalstorm a toxic work environment in addition to making Jody look extremely unprofessional. I understand that the romance depicted here is for entertainment purposes, but we as viewers inadvertently get our life expectations shaped from the entertainment we consume.   

Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt in The Fall Guy (2024)

Ok, so Leitch’s attempt at romance isn’t the best. But if there’s one area Leitch truly shines in though, it’s the action. Leitch truly captures each and every sequence with such care and attention to detail that it feels like you are looking at a professional painter creating his next masterpiece. Even in the very first stunt where Colt freefalls from a twenty story ledge, we get the scope and depth of how tall the ledge is and how far he must fall. For those with a fear of heights, you may want to make sure you’ve went to the bathroom beforehand: it truly is nerve-wracking!  Additionally, Leitch is very keen when it comes to using slow motion to emphasize key details in fights. Not only does this add tension to the scene, but it also allows us to slow down our thoughts and keep us guessing.

The choreography in every one of Leitch’s films is adjusted to fit the tone of his movies. For example, Atomic Blonde had brutal and realistic choreography to match its gritty European setting, Deadpool 2’s choreography was more cinematic and flamboyant to match Wade’s morbid sense of humor and Bullet Train was a slight callback to Jackie Chan films if shot in a John Wick-like setting. So how does The Fall Guy compare? It seamlessly combines the grittiness of Atomic Blonde with the more cinematic nature of Deadpool 2 to create a brand new experience in action cinema. Added with the visual aesthetic of George Miller’s Mad Max franchise (courtesy of the fictional film Metalstorm), makes The Fall Guy distinctive from its cousin films.  

Ryan Gosling in The Fall Guy (2024)

But with all of this said, what does the title The Fall Guy really mean? While it could be taken literally (Seavers did break his back from a dangerous fall and was nicknamed “fall guy”), the title itself has a double meaning. A fall guy is someone who takes the blame for someone else’s crime. And Seavers, himself, was intended to be the fall guy for Ryder’s crime. Since Ryder accidentally killed his stuntman, he needed an alibi to vindicate him of murder. And since Seavers was Ryder’s stuntman for a long time (even looking nearly identical to him), it would make the most sense for him to (non-consensually) take the blame. I really do think this is a clever way to title the movie, as it makes the audience feel complacent for the first two thirds and only in the last third really throws you in for a loop. Despite not all aspects of the twist coming off as a complete surprise, the main execution was successfully pulled off. To me, this is the proper way to do a twist (take notes, Shyamalan).

Overall, I would say that The Fall Guy overall is a pretty enjoyable and entertaining summer blockbuster. For those looking for the right amount of action bolstered by the charm of Ryan Gosling, look no further. The Fall Guy will keep you entertained from beginning to end from either its bombastic action sequences or its sharp sense of humor. Despite some unoriginality with its romantic plot, Ryan Gosling, Emily Blunt, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and the rest of the cast absolutely shine and make it worth your time. And being a love letter to stunt crews, The Fall Guy actually set a world record for the most number of cannon rolls performed in a car! If you’re looking for a chaotic ride from beginning to end (or you just love Ryan Gosling), you will thoroughly enjoy The Fall Guy.

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