The Gray Man

Algorithmic, dopamine-dump content

Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Rege-Jean Page, Alfre Woodard, Billy Bob Thornton. Netflix is clearly betting that sheer star power will be enough to pull the struggling streamer out of its current dire financial situation. 

Maybe it’ll work. But the irony is that, while the acting is fine (well, save maybe for Evans, in a silly porn-star trash ‘stache trying on a scenery-gobbling psycho-villain role), none of these A-listers is really needed in this flashy, splashy and clearly expensive collection of spy-movie tropes. Seagal could do this. There’s fisticuffs, vehicle chases, double- and triple-crosses, explosions, shootouts and lots of other stuff that Bond, Bourne and Mission Impossible have already done, and way better. Hell, even John Wick movies are more coherent. 

Plus side: It’s admirably self-aware, the globe-trotting scenery is pretty, and it’s very stylish. Minus: The caffeinated fast-cut editing is headache-inducing, there’s no character development, the constant violence is cartoonish, it should have been more fun, and it’s so noisy that it kept waking me up. Not really terrible; but not very good, either. Just kind of gray. $200 million should buy more than this. 

Telling note: Joe and Anthony Russo’s previous directorial credits concentrate on MCU nonsense. And they’re not getting any better. (122 min)