Growing up in the ’80s was a time of vibrant, iconic television shows that left a lasting impression on my childhood. Among these, The Fall Guy stood out as one of my absolute favorites.

I was enthralled by Lee Majors’ portrayal of Colt Seavers, the rugged stuntman who doubled as a bounty hunter. His charisma and daring stunts captivated my imagination, and I eagerly tuned in each week to watch his adventures. My fascination didn’t stop at the screen; I vividly remember playing with The Fall Guy toys, reenacting scenes and dreaming up new escapades for Colt and his team. Those memories remain some of the most cherished from my youth.

Now, The Fall Guy is making a comeback with a new Universal Pictures film, directed by David Leitch. While it isn’t an exact retelling of the beloved ’80s series, it masterfully channels much of what made the original show so special — thrilling stunts, charismatic characters and an adventurous spirit — while infusing modern cinematic techniques and fresh storytelling.

In the 2024 remake, Colt Seavers (Ryan Gosling) is a Hollywood stuntman who finds steady work as the preferred double for the world’s top action star, Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). However, after a near-fatal accident, Colt leaves Hollywood and his camerawoman girlfriend, Jody (Emily Blunt), behind. Life becomes dull and monotonous compared to his thrilling past. One day, Colt is unexpectedly contacted by Tom’s producer, Gail (Hannah Waddingham), who persuades him to return to the stunt world and reunite with Jody.

Gail reveals that Tom has fallen in with a dangerous crowd and desperately needs Colt’s help to find him. As Jody’s directorial debut and Tom’s life hang in the balance, Colt must race against time to save both.

In contrast to its predecessor, this adaptation takes a fresh approach, while honoring the spirit of the original. The ’80s version of Colt focused heavily on his part-time work as a bounty hunter, with both he and Jody being stunt performers who took on jobs as they came. Their relationship was primarily business-oriented and platonic. In the 2024 film, however, Colt only takes on the task of finding Tom Ryder to save Jody’s career. The film reimagines Colt and Jody as a couple who rekindle their romance as the story progresses.

Unlike the TV series, which left room for ongoing adventures, the film provides a conclusive end to Colt’s story, focusing on his personal journey and relationship, rather than setting up future bounty hunting escapades.

Unfortunately, the film faces significant issues.

At two hours and six minutes, The Fall Guy struggles to maintain the energy and intrigue needed to support its pacing and central plot. Director David Leitch seems unsure whether he wanted to create a serious spy-action film in the vein of Jason Bourne and James Bond, or a parody like Spy Hard. The action scenes often stretch believability, nearing superhero territory. The comedy also falls flat, eliciting only mild chuckles, and the dialogue is frequently dull. The romance between Colt and Jody lacks depth, and the missing leading man plot device fails to provide consistent momentum. A tighter, 90-minute runtime focusing on action might have improved it.

Ryan Gosling brings energy to Colt, but his performance lacks impact. Emily Blunt adds a level of sweetness to the role and Hannah Waddingham delivers an exaggerated performance that is comical but borders on too much. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is convincingly unlikable and supporting cast members like Stephanie Hsu and Winston Duke perform well. However, these strengths can’t overcome the weak script.

The Fall Guy limps into three out of five stars. If you’re in the mood for a popcorn flick or a decent date-night movie, you could do worse. However, if you’re searching for a standout action film to kick off 2024, this isn’t it. With a weak script, unbelievable action scenes, dry humor and a paper-thin love story, David Leitch has delivered a movie with more personalities than James McAvoy’s Kevin Wendell Crumb.