The Gunman

"OK"

The Gunman Review


While Sean Penn lends this thriller some political subtext, the fact remains that it's actually just another vacuous revenge fantasy from Taken director Pierre Morel. Clearly for Morel, the violence is the point, and any depth of meaning is irrelevant, which leaves the film superficially entertaining but a waste of the considerable talent on-screen.

Penn plays Jim, a charity worker in the wartorn 2006 Democratic Republic of Congo. His hot doctor girlfriend Annie (Jasmine Trinca) has no idea that Jim is secretly a black-ops sniper working with fellow mercenary commandos Cox, Felix and DuPont (Rylance, Bardem and Elba). Then their latest mission requires Jim to disappear. Eight years later in an all-new life, Jim discovers that someone is trying to kill him, so he travels to London to find Cox. When Jim's pursuers turn up, Cox sends him to talk to Felix, who now lives in Barcelona with Annie as his wife. With the mysterious killers still on his trail, Jim heads to Gibraltar to tie up the loose ends with DuPont, and finally discovers the truth about what's going on and who's behind it.

Yes, everything is leading to a brutal confrontation inventively set in a bull-fighting ring. But not much else here is either original or convincing. The whole African politics premise is little more than a plot device, while hopping from Congo to Britain to Spain does little more than change the background scenery. Otherwise, the script is so simplistic that it barely holds water, and each ambush, fight and chase sequence feels like something we've seen before. Especially since everything is both over-choreographed and gratuitously grisly. Still, Morel is great at creating a sense of tension that builds ominously from start to finish, adding some gritty urgency through corrupt politicians and self-serving businessmen. Unfortunately, the film continually sidelines these intriguing ideas for more mindlessly violent mayhem.

This leaves the superior cast with very little to do. Penn is lean and muscly, diving into action-mode with gusto, although the soft-focus romantic scenes are more than a little ridiculous. He's also unable to make sense of a character who has a crippling brain injury that flares up conveniently when the plot needs it, and yet he can still out-fight thugs half his age. And it should be a crime to cast first-rate actors like Rylance, Bardem, Elba and Winstone (as Jim's one trusted buddy) in roles that have little consistency and virtually no depth. At least each of them tries to add some spark, even if the film continually abandons them for yet another savage gunfight.


The Gunman Trailer

 



The Gunman

Facts and Figures

Genre: Thriller

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Tuesday 15th June 2004

Production compaines: Open Road Films, Silver Pictures, Studio Canal, Nostromo Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

IMDB: 4.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Pierre Morel

Producer: Andrew Rona, , Ron Halpern

Starring: as Terrier, as Felix, as Stanley, as Annie, Peter Franzén as Reiniger

Contactmusic


Advertisement

New Movies

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

Advertisement
City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.