There are films that come around every couple of years that really captivate the mind and soul. These kinds of films leave a mark on the industry for generations and carve a piece of cinematic history. Unfortunately they are becoming less common"”a very troubling sign from a creative standpoint and for the health of the industry as whole. This weekend we are graced with a very forgettable film in the form of Pierre Morel's The Gunman. This film made a very sad attempt at being political and artsy when in reality it is an overly sedate excuse for an action film.
A ripped and overly muscular Sean Penn stars as Jim Terrier, an over-the-hill, heavily medicated assassin who is double crossed by the agency he works for and sent on the run. How original. All that was missing was his Jack Russell Terrier and we would have been off to the races. If I've seen this film once, I've seen it a dozen times. If you've seen Taken, The Bourne Trilogy or Salt, you've seen them all. This genre is becoming less and less creative by the minute.
With a stellar cast in Penn, Bardem and Elba, you would think this has the makings of a really well done psychological action film in the same vein as The American or French Connection, but sadly it's way more pedestrian---not even the acting could save it from failure. Sean Penn really didn't need a career reboot, but I guess he didn't want Liam Neeson having all the fun. Javier Bardem was the real head scratcher here; he essentially plays the same character he played in The Counselor. Javier, you are better than that!
Overall, I was really disappointed by The Gunman and its lack of execution. The biggest issue was the script; the writing was too barren and had no pulse whatsoever. The characters lacked depth and any form of originality, the plot was mundane and lacked creativity. It's a mystery as to why any of these award-winning stars would ever agree to sign up for a film like this after reading over the script--- then again, money talks. Don't bother watching this and wait for something more original and inspiring.