The Fall Guy is the latest tentpole movie to mine the 1980s to give it a reason to exist. This time the inspiration comes from the TV series of the same name that ran on ABC from 1981 to 1986. It starred Lee Majors, Heather Thomas, Douglas Barr and Markie Post (RIP) as a group of stunt performers who moonlight as bounty hunters.

People mainly remember the show because Heather Thomas wore a bikini, and Lee Majors drove a cool truck — a GMC K-2500 to be exact. The Fall Guy also existed in the same universe as Magnum P.I., as the Hawaiian detective performed a cameo in one episode.


The 1980s – pixelly


Beyond that, The Fall Guy did not achieve the level of recognition enjoyed by such 1980s shows like The A-Team, Airwolf (where is that movie?) and the like. Nevertheless, The Fall Guy is now the recipient of an approximately $140 million budget to take it to the big screen where it can capitalize on nostalgia and whatever audience Ryan Gosling commands.

The Fall Guys

The Fall Guy is directed by David Leitch. Leitch is no stranger to action, having helmed a John Wick film, a Fast and Furious film, Atomic Blond, Nobody, and Bullet Train.

Drew Pearce wrote the screenplay. Pearce also has a decent action pedigree, having written Iron Man 3, a Fast and Furious entry, and a Mission Impossible entry.

For the big screen, various elements of the original series have been discarded. No bounty-hunter angle exists. Likewise, the team aspect is also cast aside. The main character does drive a truck, though.

Ryan Gosling fills Lee Majors shoes as the protagonist. This version of the character is a down-on-his-luck stuntman who left the movie business because of an injury. Gosling is amusing in the role, alternating between clueless and proficient. He also takes his shirt off multiple times to let us know he works out.


Emily Blunt is the director of a movie-within-a-movie in The Fall Guy — a sci-fi action adventure titled Metalstorm. Alas, this one does not include Richard Moll (RIP). Blunt is her usual combination of spunky, sweet, and bemused.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson is the douchebag star of Metalstorm. One gets the sense that Taylor-Johnson is lurking on the cusp of superstardom that will surely come with Kraven.

Sorry. That was mean. But hope springs eternal. Taylor-Johnson is rumored as the next James Bond. If that falls through, Taylor-Johnson shows he can do a passable Matthew McConaughy in The Fall Guy. Maybe he can get in on a remake of The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

How Do The Chips Fall, Guy?

The Fall Guy is easy to review. It’s a summer movie that has little more on its mind than a desire to entertain. Through the process, The Fall Guy attempts to be a love letter to stuntmen. It brings to mind Burt Reynold’s Hooper to some extent. A portion of the finale might even be a homage to that film.

A mystery is the engine that drives the story of The Fall Guy. Taylor-Johnson’s character disappears, and Gosling is called back into action for a two-fold purpose: to allow Metalstorm to continue to film by doubling for the missing actor, and to track him down.


Meanwhile, Gosling and Blunt rekindle their old flame. They were sweethearts before Gosling’s injury forced him to leave the stunt business.

Mostly, all of this stuff works. Mostly, but we will get to that…

Overall, The Fall Guy is a fun watch as Gosling maneuvers his way around movie sets, action scenes, and various characters. A quirky sense of humor is displayed along the way. There won’t be any belly laughs, but the viewer will have a sensible chuckle here and there.

I particularly enjoyed the unicorn gag. They play it a notch too far, though.

Fall For It

Since The Fall Guy is a movie about stuntmen, how are the stunts? Surprisingly, they are not that crazy. But how can they be? The movie industry is literally 100 years beyond Harold Lloyd at this point. We’ve seen it all, and the last decade has been particularly on the loopy side.

In the current era, Hollywood has tried to go bigger and bigger to the point of absurdity in an effort to push the action envelope. The Fast and the Furious franchise comes to mind, but even Star Wars has gotten to the point where horses run around on Star Destroyers (I think that happened, never saw that movie).

The Fall Guy

This tactic seems to have reached a point of diminishing returns. Immersion is getting lost, and audiences are checking out as action becomes, frankly, stupid.

In this regard, The Fall Guy is kind of refreshing. The action is not outlandish to the extreme. It falls within the realm of somewhat believable.

Fallout, Guys

So, what doesn’t work? Basically, the impact of the movie is “blunted” by Blunt. Does this mean Emily is bad? Bite your tongue. Most everyone likes Emily Blunt. She seems like who your grandmother might have been when she was young.

No, the problem is simply a story issue. A better version of The Fall Guy exists that does not contain Blunt’s character. She is not really needed. We aren’t there to watch Gosling and Blunt play will-they-or-won’t they, ad nauseum. We want to watch an action/comedy.


The Fall Guy bogs down multiple times when it focuses on the relationship between Gosling and Blunt. The most egregious example of this is when the movie breaks up a major action scene by cutting to Blunt starting to cry and singing Karaoke.

A solid action/comedy exists with The Fall Guy. Its plot is simple but effective. Plus, its goofier elements generally work because the film functions as a satire of Hollywood to a certain extent. Yet, Leitch and company insist on diluting it all with an emotional core that interrupts momentum.

The Fall Guy Falls

You won’t fall head-over-heels for The Fall Guy, but it can be an enjoyable first date. Interestingly enough, it’s not sticking the landing at the box office, however. It looks like a second-tier 1980s show and Ryan Gosling are not blockbuster material, after all.


Whether or not a person likes The Fall Guy will probably depend on their preference for action films. If you are looking for a serious R-rated flick, this isn’t it. It is a goofy PG-13 action film all the way. Take out the love story and edge it up a bit, and you could have an easy four-star movie. As things stand, it doesn’t quite get there.

Stick around to the mid-credit point if you want to see a Lee Majors and Heather Thomas cameo. Thomas doesn’t get a line, however. As for Lee Majors’s lines, they have all been erased by Botox…


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