‘The Fall Guy’ floats. It’s an easy, breezy ride.

“The Fall Guy” (2024) – “I might fall from a tall building.  I might roll a brand-new car.  ‘Cause I’m the unknown stuntman that made Redford such a star.” – “Unknown Stuntman” performed by Lee Majors in “The Fall Guy” (1981 – 1986)

“The Fall Guy”, a popular action-adventure ABC television show, fell into the laps of families across the U.S. from 1981 through 1986 as Majors – from “The Six Million Dollar Man” (1974 – 1978) fame – starred as Colt Seavers, a Hollywood stuntman who doubles as a bounty hunter in his spare time.  Majors’ longest-running project – co-starring Heather Thomas, Douglas Barr, and Markie Post – was an enjoyable excursion that didn’t take itself too seriously even though Colt, Howie (Barr), and Jody (Thomas) regularly found themselves in precarious spaces every week.

Director David Leitch’s 130-million-dollar film with the same title and lead character, Colt Seavers (Ryan Gosling), doesn’t feel like ABC’s weekly production at all, however, this 126-minute enjoyable excursion also doesn’t take itself too seriously, even though our hero, Colt, regularly finds himself in precarious spaces. 

“The Fall Guy” is an action-comedy where Colt, a Hollywood stuntman, frequently labors for an all-around jerk and film actor, Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), when hazardous moments call for Mr. Seavers to step in and drop 30 stories or be lit on fire, all for the glory of the shot!

Still, Colt opines that this is his dream job, and he works with his dream girl, Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt), so he’s “living the dream.”

Dreams, however, don’t last forever, and his reality changes.  Eighteen months later, Colt “needs” to win back Jody’s affections while she’s promoted to a director – and shipped out to Sydney, Australia – to helm a cheesy sci-fi love story called “Metal Storm”. 

Writer Drew Pearce forges about one-third of the screentime on the fictional set where Colt will do anything – save juggling a chainsaw, a bowling ball, and an iPhone – while Jody slowly ponders sawing away her resistance towards a rekindling a romance when she’s not feeling the pressure of her first film.  The palatable tension runs high between Jody’s angst and Colt’s sheepish advances, but during the first 30 or 40 minutes, “The Fall Guy” feels like it can descent into pure rom-com territory, which becomes – admittedly – a bit disconcerting when car crashes and belly laughs were hopefully in order. 

Thankfully, thoughts of “Pretty Woman” (1990) and “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” (2003) begin to fade when Colt ventures on his own.  You see, an abrasive plastic producer, Gail (Hannah Waddingham), sends him on an errand in Sydney to find Tom, who has gone missing. 

Gosling’s comedic gifts kick in while he searches the city for clues about Tom’s whereabouts.   He battles through a drug-induced haze and teams up with his stunt coordinator, Dan (Winston Duke), for some fisticuffs. 

Duke and Gosling make a dynamic duo, and with more scenes together, “The Fall Guys” would be an appropriate alternative title.  

Thoughts for a sequel, perhaps? 

Even though Colt – and sometimes Dan – face gunfire and other perilous threats from a litany of faceless henchmen, there’s rarely a moment when we think that their lives are in danger.  Still, credit Leitch and Gosling for conveying that Colt is actually taking these furious bumps on the Sydney streets and the set.  Colt repeatedly pulls himself up from the ground with the sluggish umph of an 80-year-old, and one will swear that he’ll echo Roger Murtaugh’s (Danny Glover) famous line from the “Lethal Weapon” series, “I’m too old for this sh*t.”

Even though “The Fall Guy” feels like a throwback to an 80s adventure, with the whodunnit mystery and classic tracks from AC/DC and KISS, (again,) it doesn’t resemble Lee’s TV vehicle.  Also, with a two-hour runtime, the editing department could have clipped Stephanie Hsu’s brief appearances entirely, run over Blunt’s silly, shoehorned karaoke scene, and raced over a couple of unneeded twists featuring a barrel full of baddies.  Hence, the film has some clutter and pacing issues.

However, Gosling’s charm, Duke’s support, a couple of surprises, and some dandy smash-‘em-up sequences – like “(falling) from a tall building and (rolling) a brand-new car” – deliver just enough big-screen good feelings.  “The Fall Guy” floats.  It’s an easy, breezy ride. 

⭐ ⭐ 1/2 out of ⭐ ⭐⭐⭐

Directed by:   David Leitch

Written by:  Drew Pearce

Starring:  Ryan Gosling, Emily Blunt, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Winston Duke, Hannah Waddingham, and Stephanie Hsu

Runtime:  126 minutes

Rated: PG-13

Image Credits: Universal Pictures

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