‘The Fall Guy’ Ending Explained & Film Summary: Is Tom Ryder Dead?

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Stunt guys are those people you’ve always wondered about before the whole rage around a high-adrenaline scene replaced that thought. They’re almost never the ones whose stories get told or heard with the kind of fascination reserved for actors or directors. So, David Leitch, who was the stunt double for Brad Pitt and Jean-Claude Van Damme, took the same medium that usually overlooks the stunt guys and used it to tell their story. The Fall Guy is a chance for guys like Colt to be more than their physical endurance for once.

Spoiler Alert


What happens in the film?

Things were going great between action star Tom Ryder’s stunt double, Colt, and the woman behind the camera, Jody. So the timing was absolutely awful for him to have to lock himself away from the world following his “back-breaking” stunt accident. Ryder’s whiny demands cost Colt his career and his chance with Jody. So you know how badly he wants another shot with her when he flies off to Sydney at a moment’s notice to restart his career as Ryder’s stunt double. Oh, the bonus? “Metalstorm” happens to be Jody’s directorial debut. And after lighting him on fire a couple more times after the shot was taken, Jody softened to Colt’s sincerity and his meltdown to a Taylor Swift banger. Things get sufficiently dicey when the producer, Gail, puts Colt up to the task of locating the missing star of the movie. Ryder’s gotten mixed up with some bad apples. And after being drugged by Ryder’s dealer and walking into a hotel room to find a dead body in the bathtub, Colt knows that he is in some serious trouble. 


What is on Ryder’s phone?

The corpse being moved in a suspiciously short amount of time should tell Colt that he’s dealing with people he shouldn’t get on the wrong side of. But he can’t jeopardize his chance to make Jody see him as a guy she could rely on. And that means he needs to stick around, even though Gail’s gotten him tickets to leave. Besides, he’s overheard Ryder’s assistant, Alma, and learned that if there’s no Ryder, there’s no movie. He couldn’t possibly let Jody’s career end before it even starts. Luckily, Alma’s handed him Ryder’s phone. Colt also gets lucky that Ryder’s attack-trained dog, Jean-Claude, is right there to join him on his mission to rescue Alma when she’s kidnapped by Ryder’s security guy, Dressler. What comes in handy the most during this dangerous chase is his experience as a stuntman. Ryder’s the kind of guy who goes total “Memento” with the post-it notes in his apartment. So it doesn’t take long for Dan, the stunt coordinator and Colt’s buddy, to find the password written on a note on the fridge. Alma mentioned a career-dooming video that’s on Ryder’s phone. But it’s actually more of a life-ending affair. From the video, it looks like Ryder accidentally killed his current stunt double, Henry. It was Henry’s body that Colt found in the hotel room he was sent to by Ryder’s drug dealer, Doone. And the footage of Colt leaving the room is now being used to frame him as the murder suspect. 


How Does Colt Escape Death?

Dressler and his men breaking in to get the phone doesn’t leave a lot of time om Colt’s hands to come up with a plan. The phone’s destroyed in the fight, but Colt’s soon kidnapped by Dressler, and he finds himself trapped in what looks like Ryder’s very elaborate plan to kill him. So here’s some of the very messed up things this insufferable, entitled, sociopath of a movie star has done. Ryder’s stardom and being coddled by opportunists like Gail have convinced him that he’s invincible. Henry’s death was no accident. Ryder’s being touchy on the matter of not doing his own stunts was what caused his death. But even more than the conundrum he’s in now, what gets on Colt’s nerves is getting to know that Ryder caused that accident that injured him. Ryder’s plan now is to kill Colt, make Henry and Colt’s deaths look like a murder-suicide, and put out a deepfake video by superimposing Colt’s face on his own. Colt does avoid being burned alive by pulling a fire breather stunt, but he’s chased around by Dressler and his goons as he flees on a boat. As his boat crashes and a massive explosion follows, Ryder’s crew takes him for dead. But Colt’s just used another of his stunts to fake his death. And how does he pull something like that off? That’s revealed in his mention of the “Miami Vice Stunts Show” when he makes his way back to Jody. The hands-tied fiery escape was a trick he learned in his time on that show, which actually exists if you’re interested in checking it out. 


Does Tom Ryder die?

If you think about it, Gail’s kind of the mastermind behind it all. She’s the one who’s encouraged and rewarded Ryder’s narcissism. And even when he went as far as to kill someone, Gail was the one who offered to clean up his mess. The reason she offered Colt his job in Metalstorm in the first place was to make him take the fall for Ryder. She’s been running around, playing her little tricks to turn Jody against Colt. But Jody knows Colt all too well (come on, I had to). He’d never hurt a fly, let alone kill someone. So Jody and Colt, along with the entire stunt crew on Metalstorm’s set, devise an elaborate trap to make Ryder confess to the murder. He has a habit of forgetting that the mic’s still on. So it shouldn’t be too hard to create the right environment for him to be pressured into confessing. Lucky for the good guys, the one thing that really peels his grapes is being ridiculed for not doing his own stunts. So, pretending it’s business as usual and he’s shooting a scene, Jody gets him to get in a car. Colt takes over after that point. And while Ryder’s handcuffed because Jody wanted to “raise the stakes,” Colt puts him through hell in a flying, jumping, rattling car. The confession was easy to get. But Gail puts them in a bit of a pickle when she nabs the recording and hops on a helicopter along with Ryder. The stunts crew gets to have their fun manufacturing the worst, most explosive carnival of pain for the goons down on the set. 

The stakes are sky-high for Colt. Jody’s career and his life hinge on this. So it’s one last magnificent stunt to bring it home. Taking a heroic leap to the helicopter from a camera crane, Colt puts a damper on Ryder and Gail’s plan to escape. In a sequence that perfectly encapsulates the nerve-wracking coordination between Colt and the stunt crew, Colt grabs the recording and falls onto the airbag maneuvered by the crew. Colt’s come a long way since his accident. He went through a pretty dark phase in the middle, when he felt like a failure. He spun his entire self-worth around the stunts he did on the set. It took him on this insane, unprecedented journey to realize that he’s the hero of his own story. And no smug superstar could steal his thunder. Colt’s success is the celebration of all those stuntmen who do the heavy lifting only for the star of the film to collect the applause. The Fall Guy is loud in its appreciation of the heroes gambling with their lives to give you those vibrant action sequences that make or break a film.

In The Fall Guy‘s ending, Jody gets that happy ending that she was chasing. Not just in her film, which gets reshot with Jason Momoa playing the Space Cowboy, but in her love life too. Metalstorm’s trailer getting applauded at Comic-Con also means that her directorial debut is about to be a blockbuster hit. Now, coming to the mid-credit scene that goes back to the set, just a little back in time, it’s a sweet little token of acknowledgment for the series of the same name that The Fall Guy is somewhat based on. Lee Majors and Heather Thomas’ cameos have a direct connection to the show where they starred as Colt and Jody. In the mid-credit scene, Thomas and Majors are cops who drive onto the set to arrest Ryder and Gail. Ryder’s not the kind of guy to read warning signs because he obviously owns the world. So, dying of an explosion that he sets off when he uses his phone in an area of the set lined with stunt explosives seems like a fitting end for him.

In the ending sequence of The Fall Guy, the trailer credited Alma as a producer on Metalstorm. If you remember, while handing Ryder’s phone to Colt, Alma wanted a producer credit in exchange. But in the mid-credit scene, we see Alma on her phone trying to get Jason Momoa’s agent on the line. So maybe Colt did deliver on his part of the deal now that he’s got an in with the director. But it could’ve also been a reward for getting Jason Momoa to come on board, which is probably what saved Metalstorm after everything that went down with its last star. 


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Lopamudra Mukherjee
Lopamudra Mukherjee
In cinema, Lopamudra finds answers to some fundamental questions of life. And since jotting things down always makes overthinking more fun, writing is her way to give this madness a meaning.

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