The Gray Man is an action film directed by Anthony and Joe Russo. The screenplay is written by Joe Russo, Christopher Markus, and Stephen McFeely. It is based on a novel by Mark Greaney, which is the first in a series featuring a CIA operative known as Sierra Six, who is described as working in the gray. Ryan Gosling has the lead role here with Chris Evans taking on the lead villain, a rogue freelancer known as Lloyd Hansen. Ana de Armas, Jessica Henwick, Billy Bob Thornton, and Alfre Woodard are included in the cast.
Sierra Six is recruited from prison to do some of the CIA’s dirty work. A job in Bangkok goes awry when Six is given a drive which details some dirtier deeds done by Six’s current handler. The handler sends a psychotic mercenary when Six decides to refuse extraction. He turns to his old mentor, played by Thornton, for help, however he has his own problems when his niece is kidnapped. Sierra Six has to stay ahead of the chaos if he has any hope of rescuing his friend and bringing down an insane level of corruption.
I sure hope the book is a lot better, because this thing was a disappointing mess. There are some pretty engaging action scenes, and some of the fight scenes worked rather well. Gosling was just a bit too detached in his performance. The barbs thrown by Six and Hansen did not land all that well in the midst of the explosions and fisticuffs. These were apparently supposed to be a couple of quirky and quick-witted killers, but the quips were lame. Not even the formidable presence of Alfre Woodard could make this more engaging.
The action sequences were just too chaotic and loud. Some of those scenes went on too long, and the film felt like it dragged in spite of the barrage of gunfire and frantic fights.
I have not read any of the novels from Greaney, however I suspect that that this film bears little resemblance to the source material. I guess I would call this a mediocre effort from the production team, but it was a struggle to reach even that level.
I may still likely check out the novels though.