Anthony and Joe Russo brought us their next non-MCU film, back to the world of Netflix (though it has been available at the theaters across the nation for the last week). The Gray Man is an action thriller film with shenanigans involving the CIA and their off-the-books assassin in their Sierra program.
We see a distinctly de-aged Billy Bob Thornton recruiting Ryan Gosling from out of prison and into the Sierra program, to become a ghost, a killer that the CIA could point to what they want to happen and the killer would take care of the job. Facing the choice between this and prison, Gosling became known as Sierra Six.
When Six was sent after a former Sierra agent, Four, to assassinate, he realized that the CIA was not out for the best intentions. Six stopped the assassination when a young child got in the way despite the CIA handlers insisting that the kid was just acceptable collateral damage. Though Six still carried out the assassination, it was a considerably messier attempt. Before he died, Four gave Six an encrypted drive detailing the corruption at the CIA.
With Six going rogue, the CIA approached Lloyd Hanson (Chris Evans) to retrieve the drive and to kill Six. Hanson was a former CIA agent who had been kicked out of the agency because of sociopathic tendencies. Lloyd was going to do whatever it took to accomplish his mission.
The Gray Man was a mixed bag. The acting was pretty good for what was here. In particular, Chris Evans was absolutely fabulous. He was chewing every scene he was in, emoting out from behind that amazing mustache. Chris Evans had personality to spare and carried the enjoyment of the movie, despite the fact that he is playing a horrible person. Ryan Gosling was basically playing the same character that he typically would play, though he did it fine. He was very stoic in many ways as he played this assassin. They gave Billy Bob Thornton’s character a niece to put in jeopardy, played by Julia Butters. Ana de Armas played another CIA agent who wound up helping Six. She was fine, but her character was quite lacking. She was just a face that showed up to shoot guns.
The action was good, but there was a lot of it. There may be too many gun fights without quite enough other versions of the fight sequences. The hand-to-hand fights were always more interesting than just the guns being shot.
The final battle between Six and Lloyd was a letdown though, which I will not go into to avoid spoilers.
The Gray Man is better than many of the Netflix original films, but not by much. It is a film that could be an entertaining watch if you have nothing to do some afternoon. I would not have been happy to watch this at a theater, but at home on Netflix, there could be worst films.