“The Gray Man” is now playing in select theaters and will hit Netflix on July 22.
(“The Gray Man” trailer courtesy of Netflix)
To quote comedian Michael Blackson, Sierra Six/Court Gentry (Ryan Gosling) is a bad mother sucker in “The Gray Man.”
The Netflix movie “The Gray Man” boasts crazy action scenes, cool colors and fly wardrobes.
But the essence of “The Gray Man” centers on how far one will go to get out of a bad situation, and how far is too far even for the worst of the worst in society.
In “The Gray Man,” Court Henry sits in a jail for what will be a mighty long time.
He has a murder rap on his record.
Therefore, getting out of prison early is gonna take a miracle to quote R&B legend, Deniece Williams.
But what if that miracle comes in the form of a person, not an angel or a higher power?
In “The Gray Man,” when a miracle (Billy Bob Thornton) approaches Court Henry and tells him of a way to get an early release, Court Henry immediately thinks he will have to snitch on a fellow prisoner or criminal to receive such a sweet deal.
On the contrary, all he must do is agree to work for the CIA and he can walk free and clear.
But the quandary that Court Henry might find himself in is that the job is in perpetuity.
Furthermore, the job will require him to kill enemies of the United States in a covert and always subordinate manner.
But killing people should not be a problem for the man renamed Six because he already has murder in his background.
Therefore, what’s a few more murders when he is already a convicted murderer?
However, when Six is given the task of murdering a mark, or opp, that is a national security threat, he has serious reservations.
The planned murder gives him pause because of all the collateral damage that might occur if he kills the mark in such a congested location.
If Six takes the shot on the mark, it is possible that a young child might lose his life.
Nevertheless, his superiors still insist on him following through on the murder.
When Six comes face to face with the mark, his opp tells him of some nefarious activity that might make Six reassess his career choice and his immediate and longtime future.
People who work for the government usually do not have the muscle to disobey those who run the country.
And when a person works in a department of the government known for violence and subterfuge, bucking the system could be a suicide mission.
But that’s the dilemma Six finds himself in in “The Gray Man.”
Sure, no one would blame a person for doing whatever it took to free themselves from the bondage of prison bars.
But even some stone-cold killers have a conscious.
Many stone-cold killers will not endanger children.
Many will not tolerate the killing of civilians.
And many will not get in bed with other criminals if those criminals do not have a code of ethics about themselves.
Firstly, “The Gray Man” boasts of several actors like Thornton and Chris Evans that have been The Man for years, or even decades in Hollywood.
Secondly, “The Gray Man” boasts of actors who will soon become The Man in Hollywood like Rege-Jean Page.
And lastly, “The Gray Man” boasts of The Woman, better known as the incomparable, Alfre Woodard.
In “The Gray Man,” Gosling kills his role similar to the way Tom Cruise killed the role of Vincent in “Collateral.”
However, Gosling’s character is more intriguing and more human than Cruise’s character because Six has a heart, unlike Vincent.
In “Collateral,” Vincent kills indiscriminately if given the order or the money to do so.
In “The Gray Man,” at least Six has a conscience.
Unfortunately, when one is supposed to be a hit man or assassin, having a heart can lead to someone making sure your heart stops.
Evans’ character Lloyd Hansen is more like Vincent from unethical standpoint.
But while Vincent was smooth in his killings like Six, Lloyd Hansen is sloppy and maniacal.
Vincent had some mafia/gangster in him because he assumingly did not want innocent people to get hurt, or for them to see him commit crimes.
But Lloyd Hansen is more like a wannabe street thug who will do anything, anywhere or anytime.
“The Gray Man” also allows Woodard to show her gangster style as the character, Maurice Cahill.
Woodard showed her crooked side with roles like “Luke Cage.”
But as Cahill, she is cold and calculated when necessary.
But like Six, Cahill still possesses some morals and ethics even though she works in a heartless profession.
And although “The Gray Man” stars legends and A-listers, the actor that audiences will fall in love with the most is the young Julia Butters.
Her too smart for her own good character will remind some of Dakota Fanning’s performance as Lupita Ramos opposite Denzel Washington in “Man on Fire.”
Butters’ character’s relationship with her uncle (Thornton) and later with Six symbolizes one of the key takeaways from the movie.
Back in the day, even killers had a code of ethics.
Now, younger gangsters and killers possess no ethics at all in many ways.
“The Gray Man” also contains some clever and amusing dialogue, specifically early in the film between Gosling and Thornton.
Furthermore, the gangsterism of the film is coupled with gorgeous colors and a beautiful fireworks scene in Bangkok.
But despite the gangster performances and fire action scenes, “The Gray Man” jumps from town to town and country to country a bit too much.
However, that does not get in the way of Gosling’s most gangster performance of his career.