A Close Up of David Leitch’s Filmography

Carolina

Carolina

Argentinian Carolina has an extensive movie background in the cinematic universe. She is our resident TV analyst and a seasoned expert in global streaming platforms. She showcases her comprehensive knowledge through her love for Netflix 'Originals', Frozen, The Good Place, and The Dragon Prince.

The Fall Guy has hit most cinemas around the world. I saw it recently, and I’m still delighted by the never-disappointing delivery of David Leitch.

The film, starring Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt, is the latest in Leitch’s short but powerful filmography as director.

All his films have a trademark of action, humour, and impossible situations that accomplish the true goal of films: to entertain the audience for two hours.

If you don’t know David Leitch’s films, you do now, and probably, you’ll be surprised. I bet you have watched most of them, and now you’ll understand why they are such cool movies.

Let’s get a glimpse at Leitch’s filmography, so go grab your popcorn!

Who is David Leitch?

David Leitch began his career in films as a stunt performer and stunt coordinator, where he gained experience in action sequences that he applies so well in his films as director.

As a stunt performer, he was a stunt double for Brad Pitt and Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Also, with his crew, he coordinated the stunt performers for The Bourne Ultimatum, for which he won two awards at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Leitch also has made some appearances and cameos as an actor in movies where he was a stunt performer.

He wrote and starred in the comedy mockumentary from 2009, Confessions of an Action Star, along with an ensemble cast featuring Angelina Jolie, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Eric Roberts, Dax Shepard, Debbie Allen, and Lee Arenberg.

Currently, he’s more focused on producing and directing films and TV shows.

David Leitch’s filmography as director

David Leitch

John Wick (2014)

Action, Crime, Suspense – 101 minutes

John Wick was Leitch’s directorial debut, along with fellow stunt performer Chad Stahelski. However, Leitch wasn’t credited for his director role. He also served as executive producer.

The backstage story of John Wick is interesting since it was an independent film with a tight budget. However, it had a modest success at the box office, earning enough popularity to spawn three sequels, a spin-off mini-series, and an upcoming spin-off film.

Leitch and Stahelski were endorsed by Keanu Reeves to direct the film.

First, Reeves recommended they direct the action scenes since he had already worked with them in The Matrix. But Leitch and Stahelski lobbied to be the directors of the film.

The rest is history, Reeves got the main role as John Wick, and thanks to his performance, the film gained a solid fanbase. John Wick follows the titular character, an ex-hitman who is grieving the recent death of his wife, Helen.

Before dying, she arranged to get him a beagle puppy so he could cope with her loss. A few days after the funeral of his wife, Wick is surrounded by a group of Russian gangsters who want him to sell his 1969 Boss 429 Mustang. He refuses.

That night, Wick is attacked in his house, his puppy is killed, and his car is robbed by the same Russian gangsters. From then on, John Wick is back to business to hunt and kill each of the guys who have destroyed what little remains of his life.

The film has many influences and wise moves, one of them is bringing back the figure of the action hero, almost unbreakable, who goes through many unbelievable situations in a very Die Hard style.

John Wick has been praised for the emotional development of the main character, the world-building, the action scenes with a single shot, and above all, for being pure entertainment.

If I have to talk about my experience with this film, I was in Buenos Aires when the film was released in theatres, and we chose to see it because of Keanu Reeves.

We didn’t know anything about the plot, and we were surprised by the good pack of action and suspense. Definitely among my favourite action films.

Atomic Blonde (2017)

Action, Suspense – 115 min

Considered officially the first film directed by David Leitch, Atomic Blonde follows the formula from John Wick, an action-packed thriller with a tight budget.

Starring Charlize Theron, who also served as co-producer, the film is based on the graphic novel The Coldest City by Antony Johnston. Leitch left John Wick 2 as director to focus on this project.

Theron is followed by an ensemble cast featuring James McAvoy, John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella, and Toby Jones, with brief appearances of Sam Hargrave, Bill Skarsgård, and Daniel Bernhardt.

The story follows MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton (Theron), who is sent to Berlin days before the collapse of the Berlin Wall to recover a microfilm document with the list of the names of every intelligence agent active in the city.

The narrative of the film is not linear, with Lorraine being interrogated by the CIA and telling the events with flashbacks and flashforwards.

The film toys with the figure of the unreliable narrator, working inside the story within the dynamics of the characters and with the audience.

Atomic Blonde is my favourite film by Leitch.

The reason? Many of them.

Anything with Charlize Theron in it immediately sparks my curiosity, the aesthetic and music of the film are a big plus for me.

But at a more personal level, I saw this film when I was going through a deep creative crisis and somehow it awoke me and inspired me.

Deadpool 2 (2008)

Action, Adventure, Comedy – 119 min

Deadpool is one of my favourite Marvel characters from the comics, and thanks to Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool movies are also among my favourite Marvel films.

Leitch was in charge of directing the sequel, and it was a great choice. David Leitch’s narrative style perfectly fits Deadpool’s style, after all, Wade Wilson is also a mercenary with a complicated past, dealing with tragic events in his life.

The sequel is set two years after the first film with Wilson failing to kill one of his targets and getting Vanessa, his girlfriend, killed.

While he’s devoured by anger and guilt, he decides to join the X-MEN and with Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead try to protect a young mutant named Russell Collins, who has been abused in an orphanage.

Russell seems to be a dangerous mutant in the future, so a cyborg named Cable is sent to the present time to kill him. Now Deadpool creates a superhero group, X-Force, with other mutant fellows to stop Cable and save Russell.

Leitch created an alternative version of the film with a PG-13 rating that was released at Christmas in 2018 under the title of Once Upon a Time a Deadpool.

Besides being a more kid-friendly film, it’s also a parody of The Princess Bride, with Deadpool telling the story to Fred Savage, who played The Grandson in The Princess Bride film.

Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)

Action, Adventure, Suspense – 137 min

From the universe of Fast & Furious comes this spin-off focusing on Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) that takes the franchise to another level.

Although the Fast & Furious film series derailed from the original premise four movies ago, Hobbs & Shaw goes beyond.

The film is a buddy movie with two characters who oppose working together to save the world from a cyber-enhanced terrorist who is threatening the world with a deadly virus.

Of course, Leitch’s style is present throughout the movie in those impossible and immersive action sequences that are trademarks of his direction. Johnson and Statham are followed by Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby and Helen Mirren.

Bullet Train (2022)

Action, Comedy, Suspense – 127 min

Well, I think after Atomic Blonde, Bullet Train is my second favourite from David Leitch’s filmography. If you’re familiar with anime, especially with the shounen genre, you’ll find a lot of this type of anime in the narrative style of this film.

I dare to say that Bullet Train is the closest you can get from Hollywood to a live-action anime. But let’s begin with the source, Bullet Train is based on the novel Maria Beetle (known as Bullet Train in the US and the UK) by Japanese author Kōtarō Isaka.

The novel is the second one in Isaka’s trilogy Hitman. The first novel, Grasshopper (known in English as 3 Assassins), was already adapted as a film in Japan in 2015.

I highly recommend Isaka’s novel, because his prose is influenced by Japanese pop culture while mixing action, humour, and crime.

Bullet Train follows a former assassin, codenamed “Ladybug”, played by Brad Pitt, trying to accomplish the mission of retrieving a suitcase full of cash in a bullet train.

Things get complicated when the suitcase is missing, and the train is packed with assassins with different missions. Bullet Train is pure entertainment with a solid casting of varied and unique characters played by popular faces.

Brad Pitt is surrounded by a great cast featuring Joey King, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michael Shannon, Benito A. Martínez Ocasio (Bad Bunny), and Sandra Bullock.

There are some known faces in the secondary roles, such as Zazie Beetz, Logan Lerman, Masi Oka, and Karen Fukuhara.

Also, Channing Tatum and Ryan Reynolds make an appearance in uncredited cameos. Bullet Train wasn’t welcomed by the critics, but the audience embraced the film cheerfully.

The Fall Guy (2024)

Action, Comedy, Drama – 126 min.

Leitch did it again, he put two of my favourite actors together in a frenzy of ridiculous action sequences and kept me for two hours with the most idiotic smile on my face.

I know I’m repeating myself when I say that Leitch’s films are pure entertainment, but believe me, in the current times it is hard to find well-done films that accomplish the main goal of movies: to entertain the audience.

The film is inspired by the TV show of the same name from the 80s starring Lee Majors. The Fall Guy, starring Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt, takes the stunt man premise mixed with action and follows its path.

This ends up being positive because the film reaches a new audience oblivious of the original series while at the same time having enough winks at the nostalgic old audience from the TV show.

The film follows Colt Seavers (Ryan Gosling), a stunt performer, who is the official stunt double for Hollywood action star Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson).

Seavers has a romance with camerawoman, Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt), and they’re planning a future together. However, Seavers is seriously injured during an accident while filming a stunt scene.

Due to this incident, Seavers abandons his career and his girlfriend, disappearing from the filming industry. Eighteen months later, Seavers is contacted by Ryder’s manager to get back to business as Ryder’s stunt in Jody’s directorial action film debut, Metalstorm, which is being shot in Australia.

When he joins the production, he finds out that Jody doesn’t want him and Tom Ryder is missing. Now, he’s tasked to find him within 48 hours or the film production will be cancelled.

Seavers sees himself in the middle of a conspiracy involving Ryder, drug dealers, and murders. As in most of Leitch’s films, the main character works as an anti-hero who ends up saving the day while dealing with the ghosts from their past.

This has been a very personal project for David Leitch, as a stunt performer himself, he put a lot of his experience to the service of the film.

His intentions are also to show the audience how hard the stunt profession is, receiving little recognition over the years. The Fall Guy has received positive reviews from critics and audiences alike.

Brian Tellerico from RogerEbert.com says in his review “This is a ridiculously fun movie, anchored by a movie star in a part that fits him perfectly and a director who really has been working toward this film for his entire career.”

Other Projects

Besides his work as a director, David Leitch has been the producer of several of his films, but also, in some, he didn’t direct.

Nobody, directed by Ilya Naishuller, and Violent Night, directed by Tommy Wirkola, are two films produced by Leitch.

Summary

David Leitch has a growing career as a director, proving action films can be unbelievable, hilarious, and, above all, pure entertainment.

The action genre, which for the past decade was mostly relegated to superhero films, is somehow back to its roots when Leitch releases a new film.

Leitch’s filmography is not long, yet, but it’s intense, and his contributions to the action genre are great.

Let me know which Leitch’s film is your favourite by dropping some lines in the message box!

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