From the director of Taken comes another high action, ultra violent thriller in the same vein. Pierre Morel’s The Gunman stars Sean Penn as Terrier, a trained sniper whose assassination of the minister of mining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo forces him to leave behind the woman he loves and flee the country. After several years in hiding, Terrier returns to the Congo only to be met with his own assassination attempt. Now on the run, Terrier has to figure out who is behind the plot before they can get to him, a task that is even further complicated when he is diagnosed with a neurological illness, the effects of which have the potential to be fatal.
Starring alongside Penn is Oscar winner Javier Bardem, Idris Elba and Italian actress Jasmine Trinca as Terrier’s love interest Annie, however a hundred talented actors wouldn’t be enough to pick this film off the ground. Convoluted and unoriginal, The Gunman is just another film to add to the ever-growing list of mediocre actions starring men over the age of fifty, (The Equalizer, John Wick, 3 Days to Kill, the Taken franchise, just to name a few). It’s a sub-genre without much substance, and rarely does a film with this cookie-cutter plotline ever blow us away. Sadly, The Gunman doesn’t break this mould, and for an high action thriller with plenty of gun fire and fight sequences, this film bored me more than anything else.
This was probably due to the opening scenes, which – instead of grabbing my attention and drawing me into the world – completely confused me, to the point where I had little clue what was going on. The confusion only continued as the movie went on, and while I could follow the general story, I was never really sure how certain characters fit in and what their motives were – an alienating feeling that prevented me from ever really connecting with the characters. Not that there was much to connect with – not one character was relatable or even particularly likable, and even the protagonist was two-dimensional and underwent no character development. For this reason, I couldn’t even judge the actors’ performances; they were given nothing to act.
There was a hint of creativity in some of the fight sequences, but this was ultimately overshadowed when they dragged on for too long and became a little too ridiculous. The screenplay served little purpose other than to further the complex plot, and there was no human aspect to the writing that made you want to root for the supposed “good guys”, who were probably killing more people than the “bad guys”. It is effectively a movie devoted to senseless killing, so unless you’re into that kind of thing, I might suggest you sit this one out.
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