The Gunman

by Michael Cox

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday July 2, 2015

"The Gunman" has all the ingredients for a high-powered action thriller. The latest from the French action-movie director Pierre Morel ("Taken") is an adaptation of the 1981 novel "The Prone Gunman" by Jean-Patrick Manchette. It features a marvelous cast helmed by Sean Penn, and highlighting Javier Bardem, Mark Rylance, Ray Winstone and Idris Elba. It even has a socially conscious theme of Western cultures prolonging and encouraging war in third world countries in order to worm their way into the vast mineral resources of those countries, like gold, diamonds and fuel. But all those ingredients don't save this bland, paint-by-numbers film.

Jim Terrier (Penn) is a solitary man with a bad past and a good heart who must pay for his transgressions in the present. He should have figured that a career as a black-ops assassin would bite him in the ass someday. Now, his old organization wants him dead, and a team of elite hit men will pursue him across Africa and Europe in a game of cat-and-mouse to cover up the past.

Some of the performances are pretty good. The ever interesting Javier Bardem gives a layered performance to a silly, over-the-top character (the current husband of a woman who's still hot for the protagonist). Mark Rylance is another remarkable actor in a shallow role.

Also, some of the action sequences are nice. The climactic scene takes place during a bullfight in Barcelona. Full of crowd and color, it's an old world homage to machismo. (Though it is important to note, Barcelona is an anti-bullfighting city and no bullfight has taken place there since 2011.)

Still, none of the ingredients save this subpar movie, and except for a handful of trailers, this Blu-ray has no special features.


"The Gunman"
Blu-ray Combo Pack
Rated: R / 116 minutes
TheGunmanTheFilm.com/

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