The Gunman (2015)
When James Terrier (Sean Penn) goes into an 8 year hiding after the successful assignation of a Congo official, he is lured back into action when a hit crew comes after him regarding this very kill. The Gunman is a mixture of a Sean Penn movie (mostly political) and a Liam Neeson movie (aging badass shots plenty of thugs). The problem with this mixture is both aspects come up weak.
The political aspect of the film is thin and overdone. A man kills a powerful influential man in a foreign land and then goes into hiding only for him to be hunted years later over this kill. That’s not original! Secondly, the story is pretty confusing in the “why” department. I get that Sean Penn’s character is a wanted man, but the whole back story just didn’t click with me. Why can’t these political action movies ever just come out and tell us what is going on. Why do we have to read between the lines to figure out this crap!?! Be prepared to be lost throughout most of this movie other than the fact that “this guy wants that guy dead.”
As far as the action goes, Sean Penn is ok as an action badass. Sure, Liam Neeson owns that title but he can’t be in every cliché (what ever happened to Bruce Willis?) The problem with the action sequences are they last too long and there are too many. This movie is about 15 minutes too long and by the time we get to the end, we are just screaming in our head, “Please end this!” The Gunman over stays its welcome with a network of messy action sequences and a confusing story, and that isn’t even touching on the odd characters. Sean Penn’s character is the only level head person here. I have no idea the reason behind the girlfriend or why she needed to be included. Idris Elba doesn’t even show up until about 20 minutes left in the movie and is in only 2 scenes!
When it’s all said and done, The Gunman is something that will entertain for about an hour, then lose the audience to the mess it creates. My recommendation would be to watch any Liam Neeson film. At least you know he is made for these roles. Co-starring Ray Winstone, Jasmine Trinca, Javier Bardem, Mark Rylance, and Idris Elba.
5/10 Stars – Does its job for about an hour, before the story, action and characters merge into a giant political action mess.