“The Gray Man” is truly one of the worst movies of the year. A colossal waste of money. A colossal waste of time. A colossal waste of talent. It’s as if the Russo Brothers handpicked the things that people like a lot and made it their mission to present them in the most horrendous ways possible. Anyway, if you made it to the end of the movie, you’ll probably have some questions. If they are synonymous with “why is the movie so bad?”, “why are the action sequences shot so incompetently?”, and “why do these beautiful people look so ugly?”, then I am as clueless as you are. If they aren’t, then I am here for you, and I’ll try to answer them as best I can.
So, “The Gray Man” is based on Mark Greaney’s debut novel, and the script was written by Joe Russo, Christopher Markus, and Stephen McFeely. It follows Six (Ryan Gosling), who is recruited by CIA agent Fitzroy (Billy Bob Thornton) for their Sierra program. Eighteen years later, we see that this program is being headed by Carmichael (Regé-Jean Page), with Suzanne (Jessica Henwick) by his side. They’ve sent Six to Bangkok to kill someone called Dining Car (Callan Mulvey). But things start to deviate from the plan when Six decides that he is not going to take the shot because he can’t (mentally) afford the collateral damage. And when he goes completely off script in order to get the job done, he finds out about the CIA’s deepest, darkest secret.
Why Did Sierra Six Go Rogue?
In an attempt to get away from Six, Dining Car jumps through a window and falls into the fireworks section of the hotel. Six goes after him, which leads to a badly choreographed, shot, and edited fight sequence, and it concludes with Six mortally wounding Dining Car. But amidst all that mess, Dining Car reveals that he’s not some random “bad dude” like Carmichael keeps saying. He is Six’s predecessor, Sierra Four. Just to be sure that Dining Car/Sierra Four is telling the truth, Six asks him about his recruiter. Four says that, just like Six, he was recruited by Fitzroy and trained at a Dark Site in Tel Aviv. He also says that Carmichael is no good and is shutting down the Sierra program by killing one agent after another. And that he’s probably going to kill Six next. Before dying, Four gives Six his necklace and tells him to bring Carmichael down.
Six passes this newfound information to Dani (Ana De Armas) before disappearing from the scene. The CIA takes over the scene, and when they find out that the necklace is missing, Carmichael panics and calls Six, who denies that he has the locket (with a drive in it) with him. Instead, he goes to a gaming center to check out the drive. In it, he finds one photo of Carmichael and several locked folders and files. Dani tries to bring him in, but he refuses. He mails the drive to an undisclosed location and calls up Fitzroy (who’s in Baku) to tell him what he knows about Carmichael. And he predicts that after what he has done, he is going to come after him next. Fitzroy says he is going to send an extraction team to get him out of there. But even that goes sideways as Carmichael sends Lloyd after Fitzroy and Six.
What Does Margaret Cahill Reveal About Carmichael?
So, here’s what happens. Lloyd kidnaps Fitzroy’s niece, Claire (Julia Butters), and uses her as leverage against Fitzroy and Six, since he looked after her when Margaret Cahill (Alfre Woodard) commanded him to. Lloyd kidnaps Fitzroy and tells him that he is going to throw every mercenary in the world in Six’s general direction until he yields. Laszlo Sosa (Wagner Moura) manages to trap Six, but he manages to escape right after Lloyd gets there to nab him. Dani comes to Six’s rescue and takes him to Cahill to freshen up, recalibrate, and understand what they are dealing with. Cahill says that Sierra Four got his hands on Carmichael’s “dirty laundry.” He has apparently conducted unsanctioned assassinations, torture, and bombings with Lloyd’s help. And the drive contains all of that information. If it gets out, both Carmichael and Lloyd will be accused of committing war crimes.
Dani asks the most obvious question: what is Carmichael getting out of all this? Cahill says that it is “shadow government stuff,” which puts his little experiment above his pay grade and jurisdiction. Dani assumes that there must be someone who is acting as Carmichael’s guardian angel. Cahill agrees because someone has to cover up for the amount of collateral damage Carmichael and Lloyd are leaving behind. She thinks that somebody very powerful is pulling the strings. And since Four tried to sell all of this information to the highest bidder, Carmichael got him killed. Dani says they should leak it to the press. Six says he is going to hold onto the drive until he gets Fitzroy and Claire out of danger. As soon as Cahill gives Six the directions to her car (that they can use to get to Fitzroy and Claire), Lloyd’s squads hit them hard. That leads to another one of the many bloated, horrible-looking action sequences.
‘The Gray Man’ Ending Explained: What Happens In The Mansion? Why Does Carmichael Get To Walk Free? Is There Going To Be A ‘The Gray Man 2’?
Although Six and Dani barely manage to escape the assault in Prague, they fail to notice that they have a tail in the form of one Avik San (Dhanush). They get to a hospital to trace Claire’s pacemaker (and they find out that she and Fitzroy are in Croatia), and that’s where they are attacked by Avik. One awfully composed action sequence later, Avik manages to escape with the necklace (which has the drive in it), and wounds Six and Dani enough to stall them for a while. He reaches Croatia (which, BTW, you’ve no way of telling because the cut is so bizarre that there’s not even a hint of Avik or Six or Dani going from Prague to Croatia) and hands over the drive to Lloyd. Under the guise of getting captured, Six and Dani start to clear the soldiers patrolling the perimeter of the mansion in which Fitzroy and Claire are being held hostage.
Avik learns about the fact that Lloyd is holding a girl hostage (and intends to kill her), and he has some kind of an awakening? Which is as bizarre as the rest of the movie. That doesn’t stop him from almost killing Dani, though, in a disastrously conceived fight sequence. He just stops at one point and gives over the drive to Dani. How does he get the drive? Six and Dani blow up the mansion. The explosion causes things to go haywire, and the drive leaves Lloyd and lands in Avik’s hands. Before Lloyd figures out Six’s plan, he starts to get Fitzroy and Claire out of the mansion. Fitzroy gets shot, and he uses himself as a suicide bomber to stall Lloyd while Six gets Claire out of there. Lloyd eventually catches up to Six, holds Claire hostage, and leads him into a literal maze. But then he lets her go to engage in some fisticuffs with Six.
Another badly made fight sequence happens, and Six almost strangles the life out of Lloyd. But Suzanne steps in (completely unscathed, might I say, despite being in an explosion) and kills Lloyd. Then she gives her little monologue about how she, Carmichael, and Lloyd went to Harvard together, which is where Carmichael and Lloyd’s bromance brewed. And although she wanted to get rid of Lloyd a long time ago, she couldn’t. Six unintentionally gave her that chance, and she took it. She explains that now Lloyd is going to posthumously take the fall for everything that happened in the movie. Six is going to act as a witness while she holds Claire hostage (this girl just can’t catch a break from this endless loop of getting kidnapped). She says that once that’s over, Six is going to go back to jail, and if he behaves, she’ll let him out to go on some missions.
Suzanne delivers the drive to Carmichael, who destroys it. If you’re wondering if that’s not the actual drive and Suzanne has kept the real one for herself so that she can use it against Carmichael in the future, I am wondering the same thing. Joe Russo makes a cameo as some dude in the CIA, who apparently believes that Lloyd Hansen created all this ruckus. Dani warns Carmichael that if anything happens to Claire, then she is going to go rogue. Suzanne and Carmichael pay Six a visit, only to find out that he has escaped from the high-security hospital. Where has he gone? Of course, to the “secure location” where the CIA has kept Claire. He apparently kills everyone and gets Claire out of there. So, in the sequel, you’ll definitely have the CIA tracking down Six and Claire. But if the Russos are planning to adapt all the books in Greaney’s literary series, the sequel (likely titled “On Target”) will find Six facing off with an old comrade from his past whom he thought was dead, who will force him to conduct a near impossible kidnapping.
“The Gray Man” is a 2022 Drama Thriller film directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo.