The Gray Man is enjoyable, somewhat, if you’re hungry for mindless mayhem. If you’re craving a sophisticated story, please look elsewhere.
The Gray Man Synopsis
Black ops assassin Sierra Six finds himself on the bad side of the game when a target turns out to be an ex-agent. Worse, the ex-agent gifts him a tell-all encrypted drive before dying. As Six flees from Asia to Europe, he discovers to his disgust that his ex-handler and ward were kidnapped; the incriminated officials at the CIA will stop at nothing to retrieve the incriminating drive. Six’s deadliest threat also comes in the form of the sociopathic Lloyd Hansen. An ex-agent himself, Hansen wouldn’t mind laying siege to an entire city just to eliminate Six.
Since starting this blog, I’ve forced myself to be more receptive to so-called popcorn action thrillers.
I didn’t previously detest them, but rarely would I have anything nice to say. In the spirit of reviewer’s objectivity, though, I now force myself to acknowledge that such thrillers deliver some sort of cathartic therapy. This is therapy that many viewers crave or need.
I kept reminding myself of this acknowledgement when streaming The Gray Man last night. In the end, though, this Netflix special, promoted as one of the most expensive ever, was still a drag to sit through. With or without popcorn. Therapy or not.
Not that the action was a letdown; there were quite a couple of intense moments. The problem was that there was simply too much flashy mayhem and too little story. Yes, there’s the premise of Sierra Six fleeing from CIA-hired mercenaries because of the telling info he’s harbouring. But why was he so ready to accept said information? Why did he turn on his employers overnight?
The story barely addresses these. At the end of everything, it just leaves us with no more than a perfunctory flashback of Six’s childhood. The whole movie, in a nutshell, is just one dizzying pandemonium to another.
Chris Evan’s over-the-top portrayal of the moustached, sociopathic Hansen mitigates some of the above shortcomings, but again, it becomes a case of way-too-much. Wickedly fascinating as he is to watch at first, the repetitive insidiousness quickly tires before stampeding into the realms of the absurd. I mean, seriously, if the man has the ability to besiege a European capital from afar, why would he even be a hired hand to the CIA? The very agency that condemned and fired him?
It’s lame, sorry to put it this way. However objective I am, I struggle to enjoy a movie that disregards decent storytelling.
By the way, the Mark Greaney novel the movie is adapted from features a substantially more complex plot. I have never read it but just the Wiki synopsis alone promises more depth. I wonder why so many character elements were omitted.
Check out my other snappy movie reviews.