Sunday, 15 March 2015

The Gunman review

The Gunman (15/R, 115 mins)
Director: Pierre Morel
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

Sean Penn becomes the latest actor to take a shot at over-50 action stardom with this overwrought Euro-pudding that has ideas way above its station for a movie from the director of Taken. A prologue set a few years ago in war-torn Congo introduces us to Penn as part of a team of mercenaries protecting a humanitarian aid crew. While they're there they also happen to have a sideline in assassinations, and Penn’s shooting of a government official comes back to haunt him in the present day when he links an attempt to kill him to the plot. As an exercise in globe-trotting, The Gunman is slick, its fights are crunching and the body count is massive, and Penn does get to showcase some nice skills in a couple of decent action sequences. But it’s all rather dour and much too leisurely to convince, jazzed up with a classy cast (Javier Bardem, Mark Rylance and Idris Elba are in there too) yet hardly any more legitimate than The Expendables, with its attempt to call attention to humanitarian issues proving risible. It’s a Jason Statham movie that thinks it’s fancy, too silly to be taken seriously and too serious to be any fun.

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