Exotic settings like in James Bond, thrilling car chases á la Fast & Furious, brutal contract killings like in the Bourne series, mixed with a bit of Mission Impossible: The new Netflix action thriller “The Gray Man” wants to do it all – and has the budget to achieve it.
Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, best known for their work in the Marvel universe, have pulled out all the action stops and paired them with no other than the fair Ryan Gosling, starring as CIA mercenary Court Gentry, recruited directly from jail.
The world is no La La Land in “The Gray Man.” Working under the name of Sierra Six, Gentry travels around the world to carry out gruesome missions for the agency.
When he accidentally uncovers incriminating secrets about the CIA, he is forced to go on the run and soon becomes a primary target, hunted around the world by psychopathic former colleague Lloyd Hansen, played by Chris Evans.
That this pretty much summarises the plot is telling – but action fans might not be looking for the most profound of narratives.
The Russo brothers’ unapologetic mix of cartoonesque humour, cheeky dialogue and brutal torture scenes makes up for a lack of plausibility and profundity, as do spectacular stunts, sophisticated fight scenes and a high-profile cast, including Billy Bob Thornton, Alfre Woodard and Ana de Armas.
A former Bond girl in “No Time to Die,” Armas plays CIA agent Dani Miranda who saves Gentry’s neck a couple of times.
“The Gray Man,” which is based on the 2009 novel of the same name by Mark Greaney, proceeds at high speed, as a good action movie á la James Bond should, taking us across the world in 129 minutes, from Bangkok to Azerbaijan, Croatia, Berlin and Vienna to Prague.
Netflix is said to have spent some $200 million on the film – the streaming service’s most expensive in-house production to date.
Whether or not it was worth it remains to be seen. “The Gray Man” will be available to stream on Netflix from July 22, and has already been released in cinemas in several countries.