Movie Review: Gunman
by Aitch Cee
**Warning, there are minor spoilers ahead**
I can honestly say, I really like Sean Penn. He has done some great, gritty movies including Milk, Mystic River, and Carlito’s Way. Unfortunately, Gunman is not one of those movies.
The plot itself is nearly as generic as it comes. A group of mercenaries are designated to take out a mining minister in the Congo. The main shooter, Terrier (Penn), must leave the country ASAP to avoid retribution from the locals. This mission was supposed to only be between the members of the black ops mission but one by one, they start dying. Terrier is nearly killed himself but he survives and now he races to find who wants him dead.
This movie is from Pierre Morel who is known for such popcorn flicks as Taken and District B13 and it shows. The problem Morel has with this movie is with the location and plot he is given, Gunman can’t identify what it wants to be; action or thriller. The actors he has on this film, are wasted. Javier Bardem, who, if judging by the ads is the bad guy, barely lasts beyond the second act and you find out he is nothing more than the man who becomes the husband of Terrier’s ex-love interest played by Jasmine Trinca. Most people, probably came out to see Idris Elba who was cast as DuPont, an Interpol agent. If this was the selling point of the movie, ( Elba was listed second in the credits as well) it was a deceitful one as Elba has maybe 2 scenes that lasted less than approximately 10 minutes and all towards the end of the movie. Ray Winstone made the most of his time onscreen as Stanley who was helping Terrier as he tries to stay one step ahead of assassins.
Gunman tried and failed to be an interesting thriller in the vein of the Bourne series or a very lightweight James Bond movie. Penn pretty much stayed in ‘intense mode’ for most of the film. There were some cool action scenes in the movie but nothing really memorable until the final scene with the stampeding bull. Given credit where credit is due, Penn was in good physical form for this movie but it’s just a shame that the plot was so threadbare and he deserved so much more. It’s like Penn’s character is poised to go on a rampage and just when you think he’s about to, he gets held back.
The movie also can’t hide its political message about some of the bad exploitative stuff we do in Africa but after watching this, who cares? When the credits role, (if you stuck around long enough) you realize the movie wasn’t smart enough to be a good political thriller and too boring to be an action-flick.
This movie was so bad, I needed to watch the Bourne Identity to wash the stench out of my mouth.
1 out of 5 Stars