Starring: Sean Penn, Idris Elba, Jasmine Trinca, Javier Bardem, Ray Winstone, Mark Rylance
Directed By: Pierre Morel
Written By: Pete Travis
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 1 hr 55 min
Well it looks like a classy action thriller and sounds like a classy action thriller. It takes us around the world and stars a bunch of classy actors. Oscar nominees and winners no less. So how did this dire mess end up being something Jason Statham would disown?
After a promising first fifteen minutes, as we’re introduced to Terrier (Sean Penn), his girlfriend Annie (Jasmine Trinica), and the rest of his crew. This film seemed hell-bent on using every available action movie cliché to convince us Sean Penn is now an action star. Note to Sean Penn; the older action hero bit has already been done to death. Liam beat you to it (repeatedly, and recently), and Costner has already tried this! You can bulk up and show off your tanned pecks all you want, and deeply gargle all your lines of dialog, but an action-man you are not. All the shoddy close quarter overly edited action shots are not going to disguise that.
The plot centers around an assassination, the legalese that follows, and a rubbish unrequited love angle, as Annie it turns out, has more than one interested suiter. Add to that Terrier’s contrived medical condition (which only becomes a problem when it’s properly inconvenient), and some really hammy dialog – and you’ve got all the ingredients of an ill-conceived, sloppily made and forgettable action yarn.
It’s hard to believe the director of District B13 , one of the best action films in the last 15 years – directed this mess. Expect incomprehensible action, a silly plot and dodgy dialog. The movie is rated R for its language and violent content. There are some nasty scenes of bull fighting towards the end of the film, so if you’re sensitive about the use of animals for sport, you might want to stay clear of The Gunman.
The exotic locations are well shot, and a theater screen is going to serve this film the best. At home a HD rental on your TV is the way to experience this film.
The opening minutes of The Gunman are actually quite good, and the build up and execution of the assassination is nicely put together. At this point in the film I was wondering what all the negative reviews were about; then the rest of the movie happened, and I was like, ooooh, right.