Courtesy of Universal Pictures

“The Fall Guy,” which premiered May 3, tells the story of stuntman Colt Seavers (Ryan Gosling) who, after suffering a serious injury on the set of one of his movies, falls into a deep depression, loses his girlfriend Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt) and quits his job. But when he gets a call saying that Moreno, who’s making her directorial debut, needs his help, he sees a chance to not only get his job back, but also win back the love of his life.

The premise of the film is unique, focusing on a profession that is often overlooked in modern media. The Academy Awards don’t have a nomination for stunt performance, which the film jokingly points out. Even hardcore action movie fans wouldn’t be able to name more than a handful of stuntmen. Yet cinema as we know it wouldn’t exist without these brave people pushing the limits of what’s possible. This film tries to show you why.

For David Leitch, the film’s director, “The Fall Guy” is a passion project. Early in his career, he was a stuntman himself. Working with A-list Hollywood stars, he later earned his job as a stunt coordinator. His big breakthrough was when he co-directed “John Wick” (2014) with Chad Stahelski, also a former stuntman. Knowing how to do good action not only in theory, but in practice and mastering a unique visual style, they soon became highly demanded action filmmakers. Stahelski continued to make the John Wick films and Leitch began working on side projects, directing “Deadpool 2” (2018), “Bullet Train” (2022), and now “The Fall Guy.”

The other central theme of the film is fragile masculinity. Gosling’s character has to be a tough guy in his job, but he struggles to be that guy all the time. This is why his injury, an episode of weakness, affects the character so deeply. The film doesn’t delve deeply into the issue, choosing to maintain a light and comedic tone. However, it succeeds in getting its message across and deserves praise for the statement it makes.

Above all else, the movie is entertaining. It has a lot of good jokes, sharp dialogues and heartfelt moments, complete with impressive fight scenes. In a fight scene at the nightclub, Leitch seems to have taken his signature neon-lit, impressive fight scenes to a whole new level. The third act keeps the audience on the edge of their seats, and the ending provides a cathartic feeling that only a well-executed blockbuster can evoke.

The spot-on casting completes the film. Gosling can add his role as Seavers to his list of outstanding comedic performances, such as “The Nice Guys” (2016) and “Barbie” (2023). He is funny and charismatic, sometimes making you laugh just with his facial expressions and dialogue delivery. His chemistry with Blunt is also remarkable — the way the actors allow the audience to empathize with their characters’ relationship is spectacular. Hannah Waddingham, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and other supporting actors lack equally interesting material to play, but they manage to execute their roles diligently.

The only thing that keeps this movie from becoming a John Wick-level classic is the plot. None of the villains are threatening or memorable. The plot twist comes as a surprise, but it is not necessarily shocking. Overall, the story feels cliché and predictable. “The Fall Guy” is good, but not great. It is remarkably well-crafted and entertaining, but it is safe to say that it is unlikely to become a classic. 

However, it is incredibly loveable. It is these kinds of movies that make audiences fall in love with cinema. They allow people to escape from their routines, problems and intrusive thoughts. Sometimes, a movie doesn’t need to exceed expectations — just meeting them is good enough. 

Lately, the action movie genre has been going through rough times. However, after his latest works, it looks like Leitch is here to bring it back to the top. Because if  “The Fall Guy” has taught us anything, it is that no matter how hard you fall, you always get back up.