Netflix has released another critic-proof action movie

Reviewers say The Gray Man honks – but the Rotten Tomatoes audience rating is still high

Ryan Gosling as Sierra Six in The Gray Man
(Image credit: Stanislav Honzik / Netflix)

Another weekend, another Netflix original movie that's been hyped to the heavens – and another unhappy splat on Rotten Tomatoes. Netflix's The Gray Man, which was released at the weekend, is the latest Netflix original to get an absolute drubbing from the critics. It's currently sitting at a frankly terrible 49% on Rotten Tomatoes and just 6.6 on IMDb.

The good news is that some of the reviews are hilarious. 

My favourite so far is by Gawker (opens in new tab), which claims that "The Grey Man is not a real movie". If you enjoy seeing a piece of entertainment get an absolute critical kicking, you'll love a piece that has "To watch The Gray Man is to experience true artlessness, a vision of cinema as pure product, not just from the point of view of the studio that bankrolled it, but from the supposed filmmakers themselves" in the first paragraph before the writer gets angry."

Other reviews are less furious but equally disparaging. So what's wrong with the film – and if it's so bad, why is the Rotten Tomatoes audience score a whopping 90%?

"Like watching a movie that's a trailer for itself"

That's from Peter Rainer of FilmWeek in Los Angeles, and it's a good summary of what most of the reviews are saying: The Grey Man is an action thriller that's a little too in love with its own spectacle. According to many reviewers the story's pretty hackneyed, the cast – which includes Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans and Ana de Armas – is largely wasted, and the whole thing feels like the directors are just throwing everything into the pot in the hope that a good movie might somehow magically emerge.

Despite the critical pounding, though, the audience ratings on Rotten Tomatoes are high: 90%. So it seems that Netflix has found itself another critic-proof action movie: a lot of the positive comment I've seen online has been of the "it was fun if you don't think about it too much" variety. So it's a fast food cheeseburger of a film, and if you're in the mood for that then it'll hit the spot.

And if you're not, you'll have fun reading the reviews. Over to you, Gawker: "Several minutes of it will surely be watched by something like 100 million people around the world, and this will be called a blockbuster."

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com (opens in new tab)).