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The Fall Guy masters the formula for blending action flicks with romcoms

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — At some point, The Fall Guy (2024) feels like it was directed by a woman – and that’s a very, very good thing. The latest effort from director David Leitch (Deadpool 2, Bullet Train) is that rare film that manages to blend two mainstream genres so seamlessly that the sum of their familiar parts feels like a brand new foundation. At the same time, the action-romcom hybrid is also a much-welcome love letter to Hollywood’s greatest heroes: stuntmen.

Ryan Gosling plays Colt Seaver, a stuntman at the top of his game until a shocking accident puts him out of commission. The event causes him to withdraw not just from the job, but also from his girlfriend, camera operator Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt). After a year of laying low, Colt resurfaces to take on his first stunt job since the incident, but gets way more than he wanted when he gets pulled into a conspiracy involving a missing actor, drug-induced hallucinations, and a dog with a talent for biting crotches.

The Fall Guy 2024 Movie Review insert 2

With David Leitch, the quality of the action is a given; not only has he helmed some of the most well-regarded action flicks in recent years, he’s also the executive producer of the John Wick series. His vision for fight choreography and breathtaking stunts is unmatched, and the action scenes in this film hum with a rhythm that never loses a beat in engaging its audience. 

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But surprisingly, where The Fall Guy also excels is in the strength of its romance. Ryan and Emily have tremendous chemistry (honestly, who doesn’t have amazing chemistry with Ryan Gosling?), but it’s David’s creative choices that make their relationship feel so real. The movie is littered with small, quiet moments of emotional honesty between its two leads, creating genuine kilig without straying into cheesy territory. And when paired with such organically delivered comedy, it’s hard not to imagine the likes of Nora Ephron or Nancy Meyers shooting these scenes exactly the way David Leitch did.

It certainly helps that the movie has such a strong cast of characters to play with. Hannah Waddingham is absolutely delicious as film producer Gail, who appears to be the kind of person Ted Lasso’s Rebecca would have been if she’d stayed with her cutthroat ex-husband. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is spot-on as Tom, the narcissistic lead of The Fall Guy’s film-within-a-film, while Winston Duke is utterly endearing as Colt’s film-obsessed best friend. One small knock on the cast is Stephanie Hsu, who is severely underutilized as Tom’s long-suffering personal assistant; with such limited screen time, Stephanie’s performance mostly sticks to notes audiences have seen her hit ad infinitum in previous work.

The most charming quality of The Fall Guy, however, is David’s unabashed appreciation for stuntmen. He makes no effort to hide his respect for the profession, and does well to bring to light several industry issues that these workers have to deal with. That the end credits are essentially a behind-the-scenes reel that allows viewers to actually see the faces of the stunt doubles as they work is a powerful feel-good moment.

Overall, The Fall Guy sets the standard for any film that aims to marry the action and romcom genres together. It’s equal parts spectacle and romance; levity and authenticity. It’s also one made with a mission worth supporting – greater public recognition for stuntmen – and in a year where adobo Magazine is exploring ways to make our creative industries more sustainable for those who work in them, The Fall Guy comes highly recommended.

The Fall Guy opens in Philippine cinemas on May 01, 2024.

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