The best movie you missed in theaters just arrived on streaming — and it's my favorite blockbuster of the year

Ryan Gosling as Colt Seavers in "The Fall Guy"
(Image credit: FlixPix / Alamy Stock Photo / Universal Pictures)

I can't understand why “The Fall Guy” underperformed at the box office. It stars two charismatic (and impossibly attractive) leads, Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt, both coming off the two biggest movies of last year (“Barbie” and “Oppenheimer”). It was helmed by a great director, David Leitch, and earned positive reviews from critics and viewers alike. 

Its premise is enjoyable, and crucially not too “out there” for the mainstream viewer, and it falls squarely within the accessible action-comedy genre. This movie had the perfect recipe for success. However, when it landed in theaters in early May it was met with an unenthusiastic shrug and failed to draw interest from movie-goers….

After less than two weeks in cinemas it grossed just shy of $130m at the global box office, which sounds like a lot, but when you consider its budget is estimated to be somewhere around $140m, before accounting for marketing costs, and suddenly things look a lot less rosy. 

The biggest sign that the movie has flopped in theaters is that Universal has opted to release it on premium streaming platforms today (May 21), effectively confirming that its theatrical performance was underwhelming. 

You can now buy/rent the movie on services like Amazon and Apple TV, and I urge you to give it a watch at home if you skipped it in theaters, because it's a total blast. 

“The Fall Guy” is a brilliant blockbuster

Based on the ‘80s TV show of the same name (proving that Hollywood really will reboot just about anything), “The Fall Guy” sees Gosling play a cocksure stuntman, Colt Seavers, who works as a double for action star Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). He also has a romance with camerawoman Jody Moreno (Blunt). 

When a stunt goes wrong, Colt’s career is left in ruins, and he pushes away Jody. Months later, Jody is finally getting her chance to step up and director a movie starring Ryder, but when the egotistical star goes missing, the picture is in danger of shutting down for good. It’s up to Colt to find the missing actor, solve a mystery, save the movie and win back the heart of the girl  — all in a day's work! 

“The Fall Guy” zips along at a pleasing pace. Its ultimate destination is fairly obvious, but the journey is so much fun, that you won’t care that the big reveal can be seen a mile off. The main reason the movie is such a joy is Gosling, who once again displays his impeccable comedic chops. Colt is closer to the actor’s role in 2016’s “The Nice Guys” rather than a carbon copy of his iconic performance as Ken, which makes sense for this film. 

(L-R) Ryan Gosling as Colt Seavers and Emily Blunt as Jody Moreno in "The Fall Guy"

(Image credit: Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo / Universal Pictures)

Blunt is also great, and while I was initially concerned she wouldn’t get enough screen time, and her character would serve merely as a love interest for Gosling, I was delighted to see her also get several moments to shine. A mid-movie sequence that intersperses Colt in a hectic car chase, while Jody sings at a karaoke bar is a highlight that showcases the talents of both its leads (and it's just very solid filmmaking overall). Plus, the two have amazing chemistry. I’d ship them any day. 

There’s plenty of comedy, and romance, to enjoy, but the action is also excellent thanks to the work of David Leitch. The “John Wick” and “Deadpool 2” director knows how to construct an elaborate action sequence, and “The Fall Guy” showcases some of his very best work to date. The aforementioned car chase set piece is a great example, as is a later penthouse apartment shootout scene. 

In many ways “The Fall Guy” feels like a throwback to Hollywood blockbusters of previous decades. It’s a riot from start to finish with a compelling, but simple, plot and a couple of fantastic leading performances at its core (and I’ve not even mentioned the always great Hannah Waddingham and Winston Duke in supporting roles). It’s a movie that I’d recommend to just about everybody, as it’s the very definition of a crowdpleaser. 

“The Fall Guy” reviews — critics enjoyed the ride

“The Fall Guy” has enjoyed strong reviews from critics. It holds an 82% score on Rotten Tomatoes which is enough to earn it a “Certified Fresh” seal of approval. Plus, its audience score is even higher at 87%, so it’s clear the people who did see this one in theaters loved it, there just weren't enough tickets sold. 

Legendary British film critic, Mark Kermode, summed the movie up nicely when he called it “popcorn fun”. Meanwhile, Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times said, “When you’ve got jaw-dropping stunts and the playful chemistry of Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt, who cares whether the plot holds up?” 

Moira MacDonald of the Seattle Times said, “[The Fall Guy] has that rare quality in a big-studio film: a sense of fun” and The Spectators Deborah Ross expressed a similar sentiment, calling the movie “A gloriously fun, screwball action film that pokes fun at action films” and said it should be “enjoyed with a big old bucket of popcorn.”

Of course, not every critic was a fan, Peter Rainer of FilmWeek was especially cutting, saying “I found the film to be exhaustingly loud and not terribly inspired.” Let’s just say, I disagree.

You need to stream “The Fall Guy” 

To be honest, “The Fall Guy” was clearly made for the big screen, so some of its epic blockbuster thrills may be lost in the transition to streaming. However, the charming chemistry between Gosling and Blunt certainly won’t be, and so long as you’ve got a decent home entertainment setup, I’m sure even the action scenes will still delight. 

“The Fall Guy” is the type of blockbuster I want to see more often these days, and I’m disappointed that its failure to earn enough money in its theatrical run may spook studios from investing in similar flicks. Fingers crossed it’ll get a second wind on streaming, and those who foolishly skipped it in cinemas won’t make the same mistake twice. 

If you’re looking for some no-frills entertainment this week (or over the weekend), be sure to check out “The Fall Guy”, it’s funny and thrilling in equal measure. Plus, it’s just one of the many new movies arriving on streaming this week, check out our roundup for the full rundown which also includes “Dune Part Two” and "Civil War”. 

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Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team. 

  • chriswestland
    I went to see this movie in the theater. David Leitch and Ryan Gosling spoke on screen before the movie, and seemed sincere -- this was their homage to the unsung stuntmen, and they went all out to produce a movie that you must see in the theater. $200M was spent, so I presumed they did make something outstanding.

    And then I saw the movie. The stunts were good, no doubt. The script was awful! How did they green-light a script so boring and incredibly cliched? The direction was erratic, and the whole movie seemed a bit chaotic. Overall, not the worst I've seen, but a poor movie nonetheless. Code8 on Netflix, made for $2.1M (one-hundredth the cost) was a much more engaging movie, with decent special effects.

    So I have to ask Leitch, if you are so sincere about paying homage to the stuntmen, why didn't you make a better movie? This deserved to fail at the theater. And it joins a number of recent movies. Hollywood can't make a decent script today.

    So my opinion. Fall Guy is not a good movie, but an OK B-movie. 2 stars.