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'The Fall Guy' honors stunt performers, delivers perfect blend of genres

Advance screening of action film as part of Ivy Film Festival

<p>Through its action montages, the film impressively showcases a perfect blend of comedy, action, romance and mystery.</p><p>Courtesy of Universal Pictures</p>

Through its action montages, the film impressively showcases a perfect blend of comedy, action, romance and mystery.

Courtesy of Universal Pictures

If it plays its cards right, Universal Pictures has a potential summer blockbuster on its hands. Slated to be released on May 3, “The Fall Guy” — loosely based on the 1980s television series of the same name — tells the story of stuntman Colt Seavers (Ryan Gosling) as he re-enters the film industry following a devastating accident. 

“The Fall Guy” was screened at the Martinos Auditorium in the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts on Monday as part of the 2024 Ivy Film Festival

Through the opening sequence, viewers are immediately brought into the hectic and stressful nature of movie sets, in which a shaky camera follows Seavers as he prepares for his ill-fated stunt. Such a style of cinematography makes the scene more realistic, giving it the feel of a documentary rather than a feature film. 

After a time-skip of 18 months — during which Seavers leaves the film industry due to his accident — viewers are brought to the set of the film “Metalstorm,” the directorial debut of Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt), a former camerawoman and Seavers’s ex-fling. 


Once again, cinematography and sound combine perfectly to evoke a sense of panic and stress as Moreno somehow successfully manages to direct her film amidst rogue explosives on set and hundreds of questions from her crew. Unbeknownst to her, producer Gail Meyer (Hannah Waddingham) has lured Seavers out from his hiding spot to her film’s set under the pretense of stunt work. 

But Meyer’s intentions are much more sinister. She informs Seavers that Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) — an action superstar for whom Seavers is a stunt double — has gone missing, sending Seavers on a humorous action-packed adventure that quickly devolves into a more grave murder mystery.

Through its action montages, the film impressively showcases a perfect blend of comedy, action, romance and mystery. In one particular scene, Seavers is drugged by a group of goons in a nightclub while trying to investigate Ryder’s disappearance. A following fight sequence is presented through Seavers’s drug-induced point-of-view, complete with sparkling effects and bizarre appearances of a unicorn. Bruised and beaten up, Seavers runs into Moreno in a hotel lobby and essentially confesses his love for her in his intoxicated state.

Actress Stephanie Hsu has a cameo as Ryder’s assistant, Alma Milan, in another thrilling sequence. The scene that Hsu stars in — a humorous ongoing struggle aboard a garbage truck — ultimately underutilized her star potential. A performance worthy of recognition for its lighthearted nature and comical tone is regrettably shortened by Hsu’s limited screen time.

The portrayal of the romance between Seavers and Moreno is where the film truly shines. Its most amusing and intense scenes revolve around the pair’s interactions rather than Seavers’s series of near-death experiences. For instance, a scene featuring a crying Seavers reminiscing on his past romance with Moreno in a car — all while blasting Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well” — is a highlight in the film. Such comedic scenes successfully appeal to a diverse audience, opting for absurd and entertaining scenarios rather than relying heavily on complex references. 

Although the pair’s romance is one of the film’s overarching plotlines, at its core, “The Fall Guy” pays homage to stunt performers and their work in the film industry. Director David Leitch himself — best known for directing “Deadpool 2” and “Hobbs & Shaw” — started his film career as a stunt performer and has emphasized the lack of recognition for the field throughout the film. 

Characters frequently mention that Seavers’s disappearance on set would be unnoticed since he is “only” a stuntman. Seavers himself is only recognized by the general public due to his accident, rather than his outstanding performances. Furthermore, Seavers continuously puts himself in danger throughout the film, not only to perform stunts but also to investigate Ryder’s disappearance — paralleling the dangers stunt performers face regularly while working. The lack of acknowledgment for Seavers’s work echoes the unfortunate real-world attitudes surrounding stunt performers, who are often unrecognized on movie sets.  

On this note, stunt performer Logan Holladay — who was the stunt double for Gosling — deserves more recognition for his remarkable performance. Seavers’s entrance to Moreno’s film set features a sequence of explosions culminating in a series of cannon rolls. This scene led to Holladay breaking the Guinness World Record for the most cannon rolls performed in a car.

As stunt performers like Leitch continue their fight for increased recognition in Hollywood, the release of “The Fall Guy” provides the support and momentum for this movement to achieve success. An action-packed film that caters to every demographic, “The Fall Guy” seems destined to become a summer blockbuster and a hit among audiences everywhere.


Manav Musunuru

Manav is a sophomore from Indiana, concentrating in International and Public Affairs. In his free time, he likes attempting the daily Connections puzzle or falling down Wikipedia rabbit holes.

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