Sean Penn seems to be following the Liam Neeson career makeover strategy; in his new film The Gunman, he is hooking up with Taken director Pierre Morel for a story about how semi-retired former operative Jim Terrier gets caught up in an agency scorched earth campaign, but fails to just lay dow and die like the company wants.
Of course, fighting back makes Jim's journey back to his lover Annie (Jasmine Trinca) a bit more difficult - as does his PTSD, which has presumably kept him from full combat capacity for many years.
Fifty-four-year-old Penn stepping up to an action film of this caliber (sorry...) isn't the most shocking move in the world; after all, Neeson was about fifty-five going on fifty-six when the first Taken was released. The Gunman gets a boost from having a veritable Charlie's Angels lineup of leading men: alongside Penn are Idris Elba and Javier Bardem, who play an investigator and Jim's old colleague-turned-nemesis, respectively.
As stated before, the action in The Gunman looks pretty straightforward, but competent and satisfying at the same time. There is definite craftsmanship, polished visuals and nice sequencing in the shootouts, chases and physical combat sequences - all of which are being designed by stunt coordinators that come from big films like Avengers, Batman Begins, Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones and many other films you probably enjoyed. It's not untested talent at work here, clearly.
After seeing two more Taken installments that did NOT have Pierre Morel involved, we (and we think a lot of action fans) are at least curious about what the director will deliver with The Gunman. (That's why the movie is on our 20 Most Anticipated movies of 2015 List.) There also seems to be a lot of cat-and-mouse-style espionage thrills sprinkled on top of the action (see: the posters below, which hint at a mystery subplot), so that should hopefully keep things interesting on a cerebral level, while all the carnage is taking place.
Check out these new Gunman character posters - CLICK any one for a larger version:
The Gunman will be in theaters on March 20th.
Source: Open Road / Studio Canal