REVIEW: The Fall Guy (2024)

The Fall Guy is for people who love movies but hate Hollywood. David Leitch’s new film is made of everything that used to make movies special: human characters we can see ourselves in, a sense of fun and exoticism, universal themes, the promise of eternal love and the fear that it may die, and the kind of action you fantasize about performing yourself. At the same time, it mocks the vapidity of movie stars, the phoniness of producers and publicists, the many modern tropes we’re sick to the teeth of, and the sense of entitlement that permeates the industry. And it’s all centered around a love for the crew members who make the movies we love possible, particularly the stuntmen.

Former stuntman Cole Seavers (Ryan Gosling) is asked to come out of retirement and double for superstar Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) in the directorial debut of his former girlfriend and one true love, Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt). But once he arrives, Ryder’s publicist and the film’s producer, Gail Meyer (Hannah Waddingham), reveals that Ryder is missing, and she needs Cole to find him. Meanwhile, resentments and lingering feelings bubble between Cole and Jody.

The Fall Guy is not for everyone, and I understand if people don’t like it because they feel like they’re not getting the film that was sold to them. The action and the crime plot are secondary to the romance, which is what fuels everything Cole does. For me, this works because the love story is handled incredibly well for a lighthearted movie like this. Cole and Jody are great characters who behave like real people despite the film’s heightened reality. Their emotions and how they act on them always feel right, even when they’re boneheaded decisions that make us want to smack them. It’s the difference between characters being dumb “so the movie can happen” and characters being dumb for understandable reasons that feel true to who they are, and The Fall Guy understands the difference. We laugh and cry along with Cole and Jody, but most of all, we root for them to realize that they love each other as much as we know they do.

And we know they love each other because of two fantastic performances. It’s easy to write off roles like these as trifles in a silly action-comedy, but the entire film rests on us believing that Cole and Jody love each other enough to risk everything for each other, and Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt are perfect. They know exactly how to look at each other, exactly how to smile when no one can see them but us, exactly how to show us what they feel despite what they say. Blunt, in particular, is excellent in a part that could have easily gone wrong; we have to know what’s going on in Jody’s heart without her telling us, or she comes off as annoying and mean, and Blunt gets it just right. Gosling, meanwhile, wears his heart on the sleeve of his novelty jacket as Cole and must rely on his charm and relatability, which he has mastered at this point in his career. He’s funny, believable as a stuntman, and makes you want him to get… not the girl, but this girl, because she’s his girl, and we all know it.

The Fall Guy

We also love Cole and Jody because they’re not movie stars or preening Hollywood jerks; they’re workers who believe in their craft, and The Fall Guy draws a clear distinction between them and the Hollywood establishment. Cole is a stuntman, there to make his “betters” look like heroes while he takes the hits and gets his face digitally replaced for his trouble. Jody is a camerawoman who is getting her big break with a sci-fi blockbuster, but she knows it’s her one shot at being a filmmaker, and she’s got to give it her all, so she’s determined to make a good movie rather than the disposable product everyone else is making. There are others like them, too, such as the stunt coordinator, played by Winston Duke, and the personal assistant, played by  Stephanie Hsu. They’re surrounded by pampered fops and bloodthirsty studio stooges who don’t care about the artistry or the artists, and the constant digs at Hollywood are hilarious and ring especially true in the modern movie era.

Where does that leave the action? Well, it’s there for support, kind of like stuntmen in a movie. The Fall Guy has some great set pieces, particularly a chase through the streets of Sydney and the bonkers finale, but these sequences are few and far between. There’s also a buildup to the bigger action scenes, which works well for pacing but, unfortunately, means some of the early ones are a bit disappointing. The film also goes too hard on the comedy in moments where it should dial it back; one early fight, for example, should have been a great demonstration of what Cole’s stunt work makes him capable of, but it’s ruined by a silly gag that distorts the visuals and makes it look cartoony. Another fight is undercut by a Hollywood in-joke, one of the rare instances where one of these doesn’t work. The action gets better as the film goes along, but it’s not David Leitch’s best work by far.

The Fall Guy

The mystery plot is also a bit undercooked. It’s never all that involving until much later in the movie, and it’s a bit obvious who’s behind everything, if only because of Roger Ebert’s law of the economy of characters (which states that if a character serves no real purpose, he or she is the killer). This is a bit of a trade-off, I suppose; The Fall Guy rests on the love story, so that had to take precedence. I get it, but I wish they’d devoted a little more energy to the crime stuff. On the other hand, I like what the mystery has to say about the movie business and the role of stuntmen in making a picture. I also like the supporting actors, particularly Winston Duke, who gets some great moments and excellent lines. And the many references to real movies are perfectly executed and very funny, as is almost all of the humor. I also loved the music, which is full of classic rock and pop like the trailers; I know a lot of people are tired of this, but as long as the songs are used well, I’d rather that than lousy modern music (which is only used to make a point – a hilarious point).

But, really, it all comes down to Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt, and they nail it, which is what made me love The Fall Guy despite its flaws. It’s ironic that a movie that tears down the notion of the movie star would rely on the star power of its leads, but these two make it work as only real stars can.

REVIEW: The Fall Guy (2024)

Plot - 8
Acting - 9
Directing/Editing - 8
Music/Sound - 9
Action - 7



The Fall Guy soars when focusing on the romance between an excellent Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt or sending up Hollywood, but the action is inconsistent, and the mystery isn’t as engaging as it should have been.

Comments (2)

May 4, 2024 at 8:39 am

From what I saw of it, it looks excellent. I like the cheeky romance. The cute love story. Also, the action and characters.
Was surprised at the comments that some people were saying it was dumb or that it was stupid. To me, it has a similar flare to like, GalaxyQuest. It’s funny also that MetalStorm comes off to me like Dune or like Rebel Moon. Funny asf.

    May 5, 2024 at 8:42 pm

    Both of those inspirations are very heavily implied, and the way they do it is hilarious.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to our mailing list to get the new updates!