Jeff Bridges has had a rough few years, battling both cancer and a nasty round of COVID—so it comes as quite the surprise to not only see him fronting a new FX show, The Old Man, but to see him looking and sounding pretty damned healthy. That’s a good thing, because the role—he plays a mysterious former CIA officer being sought by adversaries out for revenge—is one of his most demanding in years. It’s also one of his best.
Based on the novel by Thomas Perry, The Old Man is centered on Dan Chase (Bridges), a crusty, lonely dude five years removed from the loss of his wife and living with two big dogs in a quiet, secluded home. After an intruder busts in and meets his grisly demise, Chase hits the road, knowing he’s being sought because he pissed off some overseas warlord decades ago. The political intrigue involves a former ally, Harold Harper (John Lithgow, in super-fine form), tasked with bringing Dan in—even though he does not want to that, because it could cause major turmoil in the twilight of his own career.
The scripts feature solid writing, with the first two episodes—the only ones that have aired as of this writing—directed by Jon Watts. While Watts is the esteemed director of the Tom Holland Spider-Man movies, this show has more in common with his excellent Cop Car, which starred Kevin Bacon as a very dirty cop.
The first two episodes contain intense action to go with solid drama, bolstered by the casting of Amy Brenneman (The Leftovers, Heat) as Chase’s temporary landlord and love interest. She and Bridges spend a good part of episode two together, and they make a very engaging couple.
There are plenty of twists and turns, and Bridges is a true pro. This has elements of John Wick—if Wick aged 25 years and got two dogs instead of one. The action, including a couple of hand-to-hand combat scenes that are phenomenal, doesn’t let up and doesn’t disappoint. The acting brings it all together in a show that is sure to garner Bridges plenty of award considerations.
It’s good to see Mr. Bridges not only seemingly healthy, but getting the sort of high-octane vehicle his talent deserves.
The Old Man airs Thursdays on FX, with episodes also streaming on Hulu.