When Netflix announced it was moving to become a streaming service fifteen years ago, it had almost a monopoly on the market, allowing it to become the go-to streaming service for films and television series. Since then, many more companies specialising in this model have made a name for themselves. Even companies with other media offerings have created a streaming outfit and are now household names in the marketplace. During that time, the model of Netflix has barely changed, and reports state it has been losing subscribers for the first time in a decade. So, perhaps it will look to original blockbuster content like its latest film, The Gray Man, to retain and maybe even entice new or previous subscribers to sign up.
The Gray Man has a strong cast, with Ryan Gosling leading it as Court Gentry, aka Sierra Six, a convict acquired by the CIA as part of a covert programme. However, years later, CIA official Denny Carmichael, played by Regé-Jean Page from the Netflix series Bridgerton, wants the Sierra programme shut down, and when Sierra Six learns of this, he goes on the run. Carmichael enlists Llyod Hansen (Chris Evans), a psychopathic former CIA agent, to capture Sierra Six.
Brothers Anthony and Joseph Russo are the directors of The Gray Man who are known for working with Evans on several Marvel movies in his role as Captain America, so there’s an expectation that this film has plenty of action, and that’s entirely the case. There is an abundance of choreographed action sequences complemented by Henry Jackman‘s bombastic score, which would be enough to engage lovers of popcorn movies. However, the presentation of The Gray Man is dissonant. The film jumps from one location to another with heavy-handed editing that acts like a travelogue with no clear focus. It gives the audience no emotional attachment to what happens, and the lack of storyline and increasing action as the runtime moves on further emphasises this.
The Gray Man is enjoyable and has an intriguing concept, and along with a dependable performance from Gosling, The Gray Man is entertaining if you like nothing more than out-and-out action. However, if you are after something more, the film will seem similar to any discordant blockbuster movie with little intellectual depth.