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The Fall Guy (A PopEntertainment.com Movie Review)




THE FALL GUY (2024)


Starring Ryan Gosling, Emily Blunt, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Hannah Waddingham, Teresa Palmer, Stephanie Hsu, Winston Duke, Ben Knight, Matuse, Adam Dunn, Zara Michales, Ioane Sa'Ula, Gregory J. Fryer, Madeleine Wilson, Kalkidan China, Angela Nica Sullen, Di Smith, Megan O'Connell, Jack Doherty, Jason Momoa, Heather Thomas and Lee Majors.


Screenplay by Drew Pearce.


Directed by David Leitch.


Distributed by Universal Pictures. 126 minutes. Rated PG-13.


Do you remember The Fall Guy? It was a fairly popular TV series in the 1980s, Lee Majors’ post-Six Million Dollar Man vehicle, in which he played a Hollywood stunt man who had a side gig as a bounty hunter. It was fairly popular in its day. It was never a huge hit but did well enough to last for five seasons (from 1981 to 1986) and it made a popular pin-up girl of its co-star Heather Thomas.


However, once it was off the air, it left very little of a pop cultural footprint. I used to watch it fairly regularly when it was on the air, and even I can just barely recall it. It was never overly successful in syndicated reruns, and as far as I can find it is not currently on any of the streaming services or nostalgia cable networks. (You can purchase old episodes through Prime Video and Apple TV, though.)


All of which begs the question: Is there really an audience that has been waiting around for a motion picture reboot of this particular show? I mean, I get it, Hollywood will try to revive just about any intellectual property for which they have the rights, but will anyone out there really care enough to go out of their way to see it?


The makers of The Fall Guy movie took an interesting tack at resolving that potential problem: They just assumed most people would barely remember the source material, so they pretty much ignored it.


The main character still is named Colt Seavers, and he still is a stunt man, and series stars Lee Majors and Heather Thomas have cameos during the closing credits, but otherwise this film has very little in common with the cheesy, sincere 80s action TV vibes of the series. (The original series was created by notable TV hack Glen A. Larson, who also created Knight Rider, BJ & the Bear and Battlestar Galactica.) And, wisely, the film dropped the whole strange bounty hunter plot device, instead just making Colt a stuntman who becomes involved in a criminal conspiracy and dangerous thugs through his work in filmmaking.



Therefore, the film becomes a very meta, very modern action comedy (with a big romantic subplot) starring A-listers Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt. However, as much as Colt (Gosling) and his beautiful film director ex Jody (Blunt) are tortured by the “what ifs” in their relationship and are being drawn towards reconciliation, the romantic aspects of the film feel a bit like an afterthought.


What The Fall Guy really loves is filmmaking and stunts. That’s what the movie is really about – a love letter to “The Unknown Stuntman” – as the original series theme song, covered here by Blake Shelton, explains.  


Director David Leitch (Bullet Train, Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2) is a former stuntman and he obviously wants to celebrate the lifestyle. Therefore, The Fall Guy is full of huge, over-the-top chases, explosions, fight scenes and shootouts – as well showing the behind-the-scenes minutiae and skill that is necessary to make the stunts work.


So, while the story itself makes very little sense, it’s not really supposed to. It’s a wild and funny, over-the-top ride that turns out to be better than you would have expected.

Part of that is due to the obvious charisma and chemistry of the stars. Although you don’t really totally buy into Gosling and Blunt’s characters’ love story, you have to admit both are very easy on the eyes and extremely likable as actors, which gives The Fall Guy an additional shot in the arm.


Jay S. Jacobs


Copyright ©2024 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: May 2, 2024.



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