Movie Review: The Gray Man (Russo Brothers, 2022)

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Movie: The Gray Man

Production Companies: AGBO, Roth/Kirschenbaum Films

Directors: Joe Russo and Anthony Russo 

Producers: Joe Russo, Anthony Russo, Joe Roth, Jeff Kirschenbaum, Mike Larocca, Chris Castaldi, Palek Patel

Scriptwriters: Joe Russo, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely

Main Cast: Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Ana De Armas, Jessica Henwick, Rege-Jean Page

Release Date:  July 22, 2022

Running Time: 129 minutes

Certificate: 15


So what is there to say about the Gray Man? Well, it’s an incredibly stacked cast featuring no less than three Hollywood leading men and some talented actresses which ultimately falls into the classic trap of clichés. Oh and also the fact it struggles to fill out its lengthy runtime despite some very interesting source material from the book. That last point is especially disappointing given the Russo Brothers ability to often over deliver with pretty good casts but anyway let’s get into the review of the film then.


The Gray Man follows Six (Gosling), an elite CIA trained black ops assassin, who discovers some dangerous secrets about his employer, shadowy black ops head Danny Carmichael (Page) Obviously Six is forced on the run from Carmichael and his psychopathic hitman Lloyd Hansen (Evans). What follows is a globe spanning chase that spans from Vietnam to the Czech Republic to Croatia. And if Six fighting to keep the secrets away from Carmichael wasn’t enough he also has to contend with his former employer and his daughter being kidnapped and tortured by Hansen. All of this pushes Six to his limit as he dodges assassination attempts alongside CIA agent Miranda (De Armas) So without further ado let’s get into the analysis portion of my Gray Man review.


Clichés in The Gray Man

To begin my analysis of the Gray Man, I’m going to discuss the many cliches of the film. Now for those unfamiliar with the term cliche it refers to a plot point or idea that seems to lack originality. Obviously there have been a lot of spy films made over the years so it’s hardly surprising that The Gray Man borrows some plot points. Now what are some examples of these borrowed plot points? Well, take the Macguffin of the film: the flash drive with incriminating evidence about Carmichael. How many spy films feature the lead character finding out their untrustworthy boss is in fact untrustworthy? That seems to be the basis for half of the Mission Impossible and James Bond films…

Anyway, another example of the clichés in the Gray Man builds on the previous cliché with having the agent go rogue in an attempt to protect the drive from their untrustworthy boss. Oh and they will nearly always bring another agent who wasn’t being hunted in after they fall out with the boss. In this case, Six ends up teaming up with Miranda throughout the second and third acts in an admittedly very fun chase/fight sequence in Prague.

Cinematography in the Gray Man 

Continuing my analysis of the Gray Man, I’m going to discuss the cinematography and how it occasionally negatively impacts the film. Now if there’s one thing the Russo’s are quite good at its creating very entertaining (and frankly stupid) action sequences. However, at some points the camera during said action scenes can be very disorientating. While it isn’t related to an action sequence, there is a series of shots of a Croatian Castle where the drone controller must have fallen asleep. I say this because the camera starts wildy zooming round the castle’s exterior at breakneck pace. All this does is disorientate the audience because of said breakneck pace.

Now back on the subject of the fight scenes, take the fight scene in Prague. Whilst it is a very good and entertaining fight scene, it does really ask the audience to suspend their disbelief. This is in part due to the use of POV shots. So, Six is handcuffed to a bench with no weapon and POV shots show enemies looking right at him. And yet to quote Lloyd ‘How hard can it be to shoot a man?’ Oh also the fact Six literally has nowhere to run too really makes the audience wonder well there’s going to be some nonsense to get Six out of this.

Chris Evan’s Performance in the Gray Man

Concluding my analysis of the Gray Man, I’m going to discuss Chris Evan’s performance as Lloyd Hansen. Firstly, Chris Evans nearly steals the film… all without a fantastic script. So how does Evans nearly steal the film? Simply put he channels a sheer amount of obnoxious energy that becomes insanely entertaining and disturbing at points. Think Ransom from Knives Out but turned up to 11 with a silly moustache and a obsession with torture. Now, Evans’ obnoxious energy shines through mostly because of Ryan Gosling’s more reserved performance.

This allows Evans to ham it up with some fantastic lines like ‘How hard can it be to shoot a man?’ and ‘Well obviously I didn’t tranq myself in the ass did I now?’ All of this shows just how much Evans has done a 180 post Endgame with obnoxious and cruel performances, as evidenced by Lloyd Hansen and Ransom. Overall, despite a script that really fails him at points Evans still hams it up as Lloyd Hansen thanks to a sheer obnoxious energy that carries throughout the film.


To summarise the Gray Man, it is a decent action film carried by a phenomenal cast which struggles due to some nauseating cinematography and a lacklustre cliché ridden script. A decent watch if you can’t find anything to watch on Netflix.

Overall Rating: 6/10 – Reasonable 

Target Audience: 15+

Content Warning: Severe Violence and Gore, Moderate Profanity, Moderate Frightening and Intense Scenes

Recommendation: Yes