The Gunman: Film Review
Cast: Sean Penn, Jasmine Trinca, Javier Bardem, Ray Winstone
Director: Pierre Morel
The geri-action franchise gets a new entrant in the form of Sean Penn who's teamed up with the director of Taken. Well, with the news that Liam Neeson's stepping down from the action game, a new contender had to emerge.
Resurfacing 8 years later, Terrier's back in the DRC now with for a humanitarian organisation but finds himself in the gun when an attack where he's working takes place. Suddenly finding he's part of a conspiracy that relates back to his actions in 2006, Terrier begins to revisit his old life to find out exactly what's going on.
In its initial scenes, The Gunman appears to be an intelligent piece about potential sins of the past coming back to haunt before betraying its set up and settling for a generic geriatric action thriller that has some impressive stunt work and set ups but ultimately blunts your senses.
Penn's wiry and intent outlook gets you through the exposition heavy sequences to start off before the bullets start to fly, the explosions begin to shake the screen and the globe-hopping kicks in to dizzy you out of any intelligent thought you had about the issues being explored. If anything Penn makes a good case for his entrant into the pantheon of oldie action heroes, looking better than most, puzzled when the conspiracy kicks in and suffers through the many indignities of the script with utter commitment.
And it is the script that causes issues - a life threatening illness for our hero only kicks in when the circumstances necessitate (and therefore irritates), a bull fight is leaned upon too heavily as an allegory for the final showdown and Trinca's character serves only to become the damsel in distress after a strong start.
Coupled with a near unwatchable Bardem and a bloated Winstone wearing a bizarre wig, The Gunman betrays any pretence towards grandeur and settles for a cliched unoriginal action thriller and pulpy trashy conspiracy novel.
Quite simply, this Gunman is shooting blanks.