Ryan Gosling’s 5 most badass roles

In The Gray ManNetflix’s big summer action movie event directed by Joe and Anthony Russo (Cherry, Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame), Ryan Gosling plays a shadowy CIA agent who (according to Netflix), “uncovers damning agency secrets” and is “hunted across the globe by a sociopathic rogue operative who’s put a bounty on his head.” Gosling is new to such roles, so perhaps he can be forgiven if he wasn’t aware that this is the plot of basically every international spy thriller ever made, including at least four with Bourne in the title.

But while Gosling is not as known for his action roles as some of his contemporaries (including Chris Evans, with whom he stars in The Gray Man), he’s certainly been a badass in his share of movies. With the release of The Gray Man and more similar roles in the pipeline as the stunt daredevil in the remake of TV’s The Fall Guy and in WolfmanGosling is sure to badass up the screen for years to come. Here are five of his most badass roles thus far.

Drive (2011)

Ryan Gosling stars in Drive (2011)
FilmDistrict

In DriveGosling plays a Los Angeles stunt driver by day and a criminal getaway driver by night, who falls for his elfin neighbor (Carey Mulligan) and descends deeper into the mob underworld as he tries to protect her and her kid from some bad dudes. Gosling would work with Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn two years later in the Bangkok-set Only God Forgivesbut if both movies traffic in ultraviolence, Drive does so with much more coherence and charm.

The Driver (in true badass fashion, he’s never named) is a lover, fighter, and daredevil, and even Steve McQueen would have probably envied his scorpion-emblazoned gold jacket. In all, you can’t get more badass, at least in terms of traditional cinematic notions of masculinity. But the true badassery in this movie lies in its groovy So-Cal vibe, thrumming synth soundtrack, and ultracool cast that includes Oscar Isaac, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman, Bryan Cranston and the immortal Albert Brooks (yup, the voice of Nemo’s dad) as a mob boss who is so lethal with a blade his victims don’t even know they’ve been cut until they’re already bleeding out.

You can stream Drive on Pipes and stream and rent it on other digital platforms.

The Nice Guys (2016)

Ryan Gosling lights a cigarette in The Nice Guys.

Gosling plays Holland March, funny guy to Russell Crowe’s straight man, Jackson Healy, in The Nice Guysco-writer/director Shane Black’s comic paean to L.A. detective films like Chinatown and L.A. Confidential. In the tradition of those movies, the mystery plot is all but impenetrable as the two private eyes work to uncover the typical conspiracy that goes to the top — this time of the Detroit auto industry. But it doesn’t matter, because the story is secondary to the comedy and the lively 1970s production design.

Black’s obsession with sexualizing nubile young women, evident in much of his work, reaches its distasteful peak here, but if you can look past that, the movie is laid-back and confident, and features terrific buddy chemistry from Gosling and Crowe, along with a charismatic turn from Angourie Rice as March’s 13-year-old daughter. Gosling can come off as robotic in some of his performances, so it’s a revelation to see him loose-limbed and even mugging a little (I swear he channels vintage Chevy Chase during a scene in which he drunkenly discovers a dead body). He’s not as much of a traditional badass as Crowe in the film (who gets to do most of the bad guy whooping), but he still becomes a hero and and a half-decent father as well.

You can rent The Nice Guys on Apple TV and other digital platforms.

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Ryan Gosling stars in Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Yes, Gosling played Young Herculesbut he did so as a skinny kid, and despite his sha