In The Gunman, Sean Penn plays international spy/espionage man Jim Terrier, who finds himself in that proverbial situation where his former agency wants to erase its own shady past – which includes erasing old company assets/trigger-men like Jim. Of course Jim won’t just die without a fight, but when his opposition is an ex-partner like Felix (Javier Bardem), the likelihood of staying alive is low.
And when other espionage / law enforcement figures (like Idris Elba and Ray Winstone) jump into the mix, Jim finds he’s fighting an increasingly complicated battle.
Directed by Pierre Morel (who made the only good Taken in the entire trilogy), The Gunman is pretty much a generic and somewhat formulaic-looking piece of action cinema – one which simply substitutes the trick of making middle-aged Liam Neeson into an action badass, for making middle-aged Sean Penn into an action badass. Of course, Taken didn’t have second-billers like Elba, Bardem and Winstone, so The Gunman rises above its generic premise with great cast selection.
As for the action? Well, after the nonsense that was Taken 3 (and in close relation, Taken 2), it’s refreshing to get back to Morel’s style of action, as well as his eye for vibrantly dark cinematography. Simply put, his action films are better to look at than a lot of other recent entries.
Penn is a divisive name due to his outspoken political stances (on top of a gruff, bad boy image) so it’ll be interesting to see if his involvement will drive away certain viewers who would normally go for this sort of action flick in a heartbeat. Edge of Tomorrow being a good movie wasn’t enough to sway a lot of Tom Cruise haters – but maybe Penn’s co-stars are enough of a deterrent?
The Gunman will be in theaters on March 20, 2015.
Source: Studio Canal