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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Movie Review - The Gunman

The Gunman (2015)
Starring Sean Penn, Ray Winstone, Mark Rylance, Jasmine Trinca, Idris Elba, and Javier Bardem
Directed by Pierre Morel
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***

While not as awful as the poor reviews made it out to be, the biggest flaw of The Gunman is that it lacks originality.  After initially attempting to play out like an environmental/sociopolitical message movie (and seeing that it was co-written by Sean Penn, that's not a big surprise), the film thankfully shifts to an all-out action piece.  While that change of pace is certainly welcome (because the preachy heaviness of the film's opening minutes isn't amusing in the slightest), it's also the center of the flick's problem.  Director Pierre Morel also helmed Taken, and The Gunman feels like that film's sibling as an older man seeks revenge against people who are out to take him down.

Sean Penn is Terrier who in 2006 was a member of a assassination team who killed Congo's Minister of Mining and then is forced to go into hiding to prevent his identity from being revealed.  (The mining aspect is where the political and environmental concepts rear their heads, but that's fortunately abandoned rather quickly.)  Eight years later, Terrier is working for an African mining company when a group of vigilantes arrives at his worksite intent on killing him.  Terrier escapes, but must set out to find who wants him dead and why they've waited so long to do him in.

Surprisingly, Penn is capable of being the action star, bringing a bit of inward turmoil to Terrier that we don't often see in flicks like this.  That said, the character doesn't quite feel as developed as he should be.  Sure, he's given some odd quirks and a dire medical diagnosis that he must overcome, but I lacked a connection to his plight that could've come from a bit more deepening of the character.  The action sequences are well shot and well-paced, but I began to lose interest in the film's final act which is never a good sign for a film in this genre.  The supporting cast -- Ray Winstone, Javier Bardem, Mark Rylance -- is solid and certainly add to the quality of the film, but in the end The Gunman doesn't quite develop into the piece it could've been.

The RyMickey Rating:  C

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