The Gunman is a ridiculous movie from the director of another ridiculous movie, Taken. But where Taken was ridiculous and fun, The Gunman is ridiculous and safe, and therefore, a bore.
Perhaps the presence of Sean Penn is a major factor in the film not being any fun. He plays Jeff Terrier, an assassin working for contractors mining for minerals in war-torn Congo. After getting the assignment to murder a political figure, thus guaranteeing the company their continued presence in Africa, he must flee the Congo, leaving his one true love, Annie (Jasmine Trinca), behind.
The film then picks up eight years later, where Terrier is back in Africa, now working for the good guys, building water wells. But when men come to try and assassinate him, he must flee again, and get in touch with the old gang. That old gang includes former coworker, Felix (Javier Bardem), who is now married to former love Annie.
Either Sean Penn only agreed to star in the movie because of the bit of political commentary about greedy capitalists taking advantage of horrible situations in Africa, or he inserted all of that into the script himself (he’s credited as a co-writer). But the rest of the movie is not nearly as serious as that plotline would suggest; it’s really just a standard shoot-em-up, shot in pretty places. And if you’re like me, and were at least hoping for some good Idris Elba action, since he’s got third billing and all, save your money–or wait for Amazon Prime, since they co-produced the movie (!?). He’s in it maybe ten minutes total, and not until the very end.
Penn has ample opportunity to show of his impressive–if a tad too veiny–naked torso as he’s kicking the shit out of the bad guys. But when he’s not shooting or punching, he’s clutching his head in pain and vomiting because his character also has massive head trauma that could kill him. This is supposed to up the stakes of his quest, but really only succeeds in adding to the ridiculousness.
There’s the shadow of a fun movie in there. After all, the climax takes place in a bull fighting arena for Chrissake! (And if you think the bad guy isn’t going to have some encounter with a bull, then you need to see more silly movies). But the fact that another pivotal fight and chase takes place at a giant aquarium–and we never even see the aquarium!!–just proves The Gunman is firing blanks.
Sequel to last year’s Divergent, brings back teen heroine Tris and her partner in divergence, Four, as they fight to bring down the totalitarian regime that tried to kill everyone in the first movie. Kate Winslet is back as the evil head of the Erudite faction. Fans of the book may take issue with this movie version, as it–yes–diverges from the book a bit.
This horror movie is getting a lot of raves, which doesn’t mean it’s actually scary, (looking at you The Babadook!), but could be a step above your standard teen horror. Sure, the teens in It Follows have sex, and then have to pay for being slutty–pretty standard horror tropes–but it sounds like this takes the symbolism of those tropes to a whole new level.