Dumb show, decent movie: Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt are amazing—but nobody cares about ‘The Fall Guy’

The conversion of an old TV show into a big-budget movie results in some relatively good times with The Fall Guy, directed by David Leitch (Deadpool 2) and starring the one and only Ryan Gosling as the title character.

The TV show, which aired from 1981 to 1986, starred Lee Majors as Colt Seavers, a movie stunt guy who moonlights as a bounty hunter. The new version eschews the bounty-hunter part, focuses on the whole stunt-guy thing, and throws in a kidnap/murder mystery. Lots of mayhem ensues involving stunts, things blowing up, and occasional fights with bottles.

But there’s a problem here: Nobody cares about The Fall Guy. It was a half-baked concept to begin with. The show kind of stunk, and its relevance, if it ever had any, is lost on most people on the planet right now. (The dude I saw the movie with had no idea it was even a TV show.)

What’s not a problem: The charisma of Gosling and his hilarious co-star, Emily Blunt, as a former flame-turned-film director. The two stars are great together, which results in large parts of this movie being a whole lot of fun. When they are on the screen together, the movie pops.

The major subplot, which includes Tom Ryder, the movie star for whom Colt is doubling (a funny Aaron Taylor-Johnson), is fine, if a bit hard to follow at times. When Taylor-Johnson is allowed to riff, he continues to show he’s at his best when he’s being a wiseass. (I loved him in Bullet Train.) If I had my druthers, I would’ve turned this into more of a buddy movie between Colt and Tom; instead, the screenplay opts for something a little more antagonistic that leads to a rather silly ending.

There I go, sounding like I didn’t like the movie, when I really did. You can find far worse ways to pass your time than watching Gosling and Blunt trading lines. They could make any scrap heap of a screenplay worthwhile with their mere presence.

Things in this movie generally blow up real good, too. Leitch, who can certainly direct an action scene, stages some great stunts. The sizable amount of money spent on this movie is evident: There are some car jumps that defy belief, and the pyrotechnics are first-rate.

The Fall Guy was supposed to be the giant kickoff to the summer movie season. Despite most critics liking it, audiences simply haven’t shown up. Even though nobody knows anything about The Fall Guy TV show, it’s still a surprise; I thought the star power would drive this one.

Making The A Team into a movie was a bad idea, and The Fall Guy is enduring a similar fate. While this one is much better than The A Team film was, nobody really seems to care about stupid ’80s TV shows anymore. Here’s to a healthy streaming life for The Fall Guy!

Stick around for an end-credits cameo that will have your younger friends asking, “Who the hell is that, and what’s the deal with this movie? Did it exist as something else before?”

And let’s be clear about one thing: Even though the movie doesn’t quite match his majesty … RYAN GOSLING RULES!

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