The Gray Man’s mishmash

Poster for The Gray Man

The Gray Man, the new spy adventure on Netfix, is a bit of a mishmash.

It’s one part Bond (especially one action sequence that seems taken from Die Another Day), one part Bourne (a cynical universe), one part Tom Cruise Mission: Impossible (over-the-top action sequences), one part John Wick (impressive casualty counts) and one part Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The latter is no surprise. Directors Anthony and Joe Russo helmed some of Marvel’s biggest films, including Avengers: Endgame.

In their Marvel movies, the Russos loved to tell you the locations in BIG LETTERS. That carried over to The Gray Man (“BANGKOK,” “VIENNA,” “LANGLEY,” etc.). The brothers also like to have frantic camera movements and that’s the case here as well.

Ryan Gosling as Six, an assassin in the employ of the CIA, is more Bourne than Bond. But the script by Joe Russo and the writing team of Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, makes sure to work in a Bond reference. “007 was taken,” Six says at one point.

Six has been assigned a kill but doesn’t perform it as planned. This sets up a McGuffin that drives the plot. Six now is a hunted man. One of the hunters is mercenary Lloyd Hansen, played by Chris Evans, who worked on all four of the Marvel movies directed by the Russos.

At Marvel, Evans played the straight-laced Captain America. Since his exit from the MCU, Evans has been doing different types of parts.

Here, Evans revels as the movie’s villain. However, his performance is about as subtle as Snidely Whiplash. (Google it.) The actor achieves this effect, in part, with a weird-looking mustache. He probably had a lot of fun but the Russos might have been better served if they had Evans cool it a bit.

Ana de Armas plays a CIA operative, Dani Miranda, who’s very similar to Paloma in No Time to Die (I originally typed Die Another Day; too many “Die” titles). Dani Miranda gets beaten up more than Paloma.

The Gray Man isn’t the most impressive spy entertainment. But with Bond films in another hiatus and Cruise’s Mission: Impossible series on hold until 2023, it fills a vacuum for spy fans. GRADE: B-Minus.

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