Netflix's new blockbuster The Gray Man is a 00-DOUBLE

Netflix’s new blockbuster is 007’s double: £166M The Gray Man – the streamer’s most expensive film ever – has high-octane action, a rogue secret agent, and a Bond girl as its leading lady… no wonder critics think it looks familiar!

  • The Gray Man is most expensive Netflix film ever made, with £166millon budget
  • Critics have suggested the film has been inspired by the James Bond franchise 
  • It was directed by Anthony and Joe Russo – the pair behind Avengers: Endgame

It’s one of Hollywood’s most popular spy franchises, so it’s perhaps no surprise that Netflix’s most costly film ever made, The Gray Man, has been inspired by the extremely successful Bond movies, according to critics.

The new blockbuster, released today on the streaming site, is based on the 2009 novel of the same name by Mark Greaney and follows CIA operative Court Gentry (played by Ryan Gosling), known by his codename, Sierra Six, as he battles it out against his former ally, Lloyd Hansen (Chris Evans).

Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo – the duo behind Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame – the story sees top agent Gentry uncover a dark secret within the agency, all while being hunted by his ex-colleague and a slew of international assassins. 

The Gray Man is the most expensive Netflix film ever made, with a budget of around $200million (£166millon) – and boasts a star-studded cast, including former Bond girl Ana De Armas and Bridgerton’s Regé-Jean Page, who’s been tipped to become the next 007.

And that’s not the only similarities to the British spy franchise, with the film including ‘some stunts that are as thrillingly extravagant as they are implausibly silly. The Bond producers might have to raise their game,’ explained the Daily Mail’s Brian Viner.

The blockbuster itself even pokes fun at the likeness, with Gosling’s lead character joking that he goes by the name Six because 007 was taken.

The Gray Man, released today on the streaming site, is based on the 2009 novel of the same name by Mark Greaney and follows CIA operative Court Gentry (played by Ryan Gosling (pictured)), known by his codename, Sierra Six, as he battles it out against his former ally, Lloyd Hansen (Chris Evans)


The Gray Man is the most expensive Netflix film ever made, with a budget of around $200million (£166millon) – and boasts a star-studded cast, including former Bond girl Ana De Armas (left) and Bridgerton’s Regé-Jean Page (right), who’s been tipped to become the next 007 

And that’s not the only similarities to the British spy franchise, with the film including ‘some stunts that are as thrillingly extravagant as they are implausibly silly. The Bond producers might have to raise their game,’ explained the Daily Mail’s Brian Viner

Netflix Inc and the movie’s directors hope the big-budget, effects-filled thriller in the spirit of a James Bond adventure will launch the company’s own long-running spy series.

‘Whether it’s exploring the events after the original Gray Man movie, or before, or where we choose to go, there’s a lot of options in this universe,’ Anthony Russo said. 

Speaking about the comparisons the movie has drawn with other spy films, such as James Bond and the Bourne franchise, Joe Russo told Elle: ‘Well, this is a modern story. 

‘I think that Bond is about 60 years old at this point and Bourne’s about 20 years old, and this film is connected in a lot of ways to some issues that are going on in the world right now. 

‘The character is exceedingly existential, quite funny, and we just find that it fits our sense of humour. It’s the kind of film that we feel would work well with today’s audiences.’

But Rege-Jean Page, hotly fancied as the next Bond himself and who plays CIA boss Denny Carmichael in the film, previously described The Gray Man as a blend between the James Bond and Jason Bourne franchises.


 Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo – the duo behind Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame – the story sees top agent Gentry uncover a dark secret within the agency, all while being hunted by his ex-colleague and a slew of international assassins. Pictured, Chris Evans as Lloyd Hansen

With a star-studded cast of Gosling (second from left), De Armas (second from right), Chris Evans (right), Rege-Jean Page (left) and Billy Bob Thornton, many are excited for its premiere

He said: ‘It’s a global travel adventure, but with spies, explosions, guns, falling out of airplanes . . . there’s nothing that isn’t in this movie.

‘It has this “How is this dude still on his feet?!” factor. It has that suave suits and sophistication, “Bond factor”. And it has that hyper-real, hyper-violent “Bourne factor”.’

‘Mediocre’ and ‘bland’: Movie critics slam The Gray Man in withering reviews 

  • A DailyDot reporter said Ryan Gosling’s character, Sierra Six, has ‘no personality,’ and that ‘the characterization is so bland, it saps the energy out of beloved movie stars.’ The outlet also claimed the script is ‘so formulaic it may as well be generated by an algorithm’ and that the action scenes are ‘disappointingly mediocre.’
  • The New York Times was also quick to bash the film, writing in a review that it’s made up of a ‘barrage of bullets and one-liners.’ It added that the audience isn’t able ‘to find its footing in the film’s large, expensive set pieces, which prevents the action from becoming truly thrilling.’
  • Well-known movie critic Robert Ebert said the Russo brothers, who directed the flick, ‘ran off’ with Netflix’s money without ‘really caring what they delivered.’ Ebert called the ‘programmatically dull’ movie ‘a silly piece of popcorn entertainment that too often forgets that this kind of venture needs to be fun.’
  • Collider also released furious fire against The Gray Man in its review, calling the movie ‘mediocre’ and slamming it for including ‘too many supporting characters without much to do.’ Collider said The Gray Man ‘never gives the audience a reason to care about this mission or the characters.’ It added that the ‘big, dumb action film’ is ‘really just as simple as one man trying to kill another.’

Gosling’s lead character is a former inmate sprung from prison by the CIA in exchange for servitude in a secret program.

‘I’ve always wanted to make an action movie,’ Gosling told Reuters. ‘Action was my first love. It made me fall in love with movies in the first place. It took a minute to get there and find the right one.’

The movie – which was filmed at seven locations around the world from Azerbaijan to Croatia and France – packs in nine major action sequences, including a lengthy gun battle in a public square in Prague. 

‘We wanted to be very ambitious with this movie,’ director Anthony said. ‘It is hard to shoot action. It’s expensive to shoot action, and Netflix was up for this level of ambition.’

‘It was real trial by fire for me having it be my first action film,’ Gosling said.

Chris Evans plays Gosling’s nemesis, an assassin named Lloyd Hansen who was expelled from the CIA for excessive tactics.

‘He’s unapologetically himself,’ Evans said of the character. ‘I think most of us walk through the world measuring who we are based on who we think we’re supposed to be, and Lloyd is unbound by those social norms.’

Yet reaction for the film from critics has been mixed.

The Times’ Tom Shone said: ‘Throw the Bourne, Bond, Mission: Impossible and Fast and Furious franchises into a blender and keep your finger jammed on the button for the length of time it takes to make a banana smoothie and — voilà — you might end up with a film like The Gray Man; you’ll forget it the moment you stop watching it.’

However, numerous critics have ridiculed the thriller, with one calling it ‘formulaic, bland, unoriginal, and disappointingly mediocre.’ 

Another claimed the movie ‘never gave the audience a reason to care about the mission or characters’ and said it lost ‘all tension and excitement’ due to its ‘absurd editing.’

A third said they weren’t ‘able to name a memorable thing about it’ a few days after watching it and that it was tough to recall even ‘five characteristics of the hero.’

A DailyDot reporter said Gosling’s character had ‘no personality,’ and that she could tell the movie ‘was going to be a slog within the first 90 seconds’ – when it opened with Thornton’s character delivering a long and boring speech.

‘The characterization is so bland, it saps the energy out of beloved movie stars,’ the outlet wrote in its review, adding that the script is ‘so formulaic it may as well be generated by an algorithm.’ 

Directed by the Russo Brothers (who were previously behind some of the Avengers movies), the filmis about a top CIA agent who uncovers a dark secret within the agency

However, numerous critics have ridiculed the thriller, with one calling it ‘formulaic, bland, unoriginal, and disappointingly mediocre’

‘Movies like The Gray Man live or die on their action sequences,’ it continued. ‘Sure, the concept is unoriginal – a man on the run, some evil mercenaries, a kidnapped girl – but no one watches these movies for the plot. We’re here for fight scenes and car chases… which in this case are disappointingly mediocre.’

DailyDot compared the flick to a ‘cheap Jason Bourne rip-off,’ which ‘failed to elicit any sense of danger.’ 

The New York Times was also quick to bash the film, writing in a review that it’s made up of a ‘barrage of bullets and one-liners.’

‘The caffeinated cuts and pacing never allow the audience to find its footing in the film’s large, expensive set pieces, which prevents the action from becoming truly thrilling,’ it wrote. 

Well-known movie critic Robert Ebert said the it felt like the Russos ‘ran off’ with Netflix’s money without ‘really caring what they delivered.’ 

Despite the negative response from critics, some fans who got to see the movie during early screenings have come to its defence online

‘People will watch The Gray Man by the millions. They just won’t be able to name a memorable thing about it a few days later,’ he said.

While it received a low score of 53 per cent from reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes, the audience gave the movie an 89 per cent. 

And despite the negative response from critics, some fans who got to see the flick during early screenings have come to its defence online. 

‘I loved The Gray Man. It was so good,’ one fan wrote on Twitter. ‘Chris did such an amazing job, I love watching him act.

‘Ryan was amazing too … Can’t wait to watch on Netflix. If you can go see it at a theatre do it. Overall, I f****** loved it.’ 

Another added: ‘Just finished watching The Gray Man it was so so good! Definitely one of my favourites. Chris Evans, Ryan Gosling and Ana de Armas – my favourite trio. I need to rewatch the movie again.’

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