The Fall Guy (3 stars out of 4)

“The Fall Guy” is the early front-runner for “Most Meta Movie Experience of 2024.” There’s
something odd about watching a movie about stuntmen, knowing the stunts you are seeing are
being performed by stuntmen who are protecting actors who are playing stuntmen. Also, the
director is a former stuntman himself.

David Leitch’s love letter to his former profession is the latest in a long line of big screen
adaptations of classic to semi-classic 1980s TV shows, in this case Glen A. Larson’s series about
a Hollywood stuntman who moonlights as a bounty hunter. There’s no bounty hunting this time
around, and Leitch focuses in on a tumultuous film production that is missing its leading man.

Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt play Colt Seavers and Jody Moreno, loose film versions of the
characters Lee Majors and Heather Thomas played on TV. Seavers is a veteran stuntman, the
go-to lookalike for Hollywood A-lister Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) for the past six years,
and deeply smitten by the up-and-coming camera operator Jody. But an on-set accident derails
the stuntman’s hopes and dreams, and a year later Seavers is parking cars as a valet rather than
rolling them for action movies.

The story kicks into gear when film producer Gail Meyer (Hannah Waddingham) recruits
Seavers for a second chance at stardom, and possibly Jody. On paper, Seavers will be back in
action as the lead stuntman on Moreno’s first directorial feature, but secretly he’s given a far
more serious mission: find Ryder, who has fallen in with some shady characters and gone

The plan is simple: find Ryder, save Jody’s film, reconnect with the love of his life.

As you might imagine, things aren’t as simple as they seem, and the results give Leitch and co.
ample opportunity to showcase the talents of Hollywood’s Unknown Stuntmen. “The Fall Guy”
seems determined to set a record for action sequences, and manages to rival franchises like
“Mission: Impossible” (another TV adaptation from way back!) for the range of its mayhem.

But unlike its more serious peers, “The Fall Guy” puts a heavy emphasis on the comic side of its
action-comedy brand, enabled by Gosling, who seems to be playing a loose cross between his
Ken character from last year’s “Barbie” movie and Ben Stiller’s Derek Zoolander from 20 years
ago. The cast is one of the best things “Fall Guy” has going for it, as Gosling, Blunt,
Waddingham, and Taylor-Johnson all elevate what might have been forgettable roles.

Of course, the action stunt pieces are great too, and a lot of fun to watch. The weakest element
may be the story, which starts to drag a bit midway, and overall the film is about 10-15 minutes
too long. The winking attitude of the movie also misses some unintentional comedy, such as
the obvious product placement of a tech-heavy modern GMC pickup presented as the heir to
the TV show’s original indestructible beast.

Still, even if the story isn’t much more than a framework for the stunt pieces, it’s clear the
people making “Fall Guy” are having a lot of fun, and combined with the energetic cast, the vibe
will translate well to the people in the seats. And a little mayhem on screen may be just what
audiences need to distract them from the mayhem of 2024.

“The Fall Guy” is rated PG-13 for persistent action violence and some scattered profanity.

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