The Gunman (2015)

Before he went down to interview El Chapo, I saw this movie starring Sean Penn. I don't recall the last time I saw something starring Penn, and this was from the director of Taken, so I expected there to be some decent action in the movie. With as generally nuts and full of himself as Sean is, I didn't expect much from the acting. I'm not even sure I expected all that much from the action, now that I reflect on it.

I should have had higher expectations for the action, though. I didn't realize that Sean had gone out and gotten himself a brand-new home gym. His physique in this movie is unbelievable. I know I've seen Sean and other movies, and I never remember him being this jacked. He's supposed to be a badass in this movie, but Sean always seems to bring a very flawed personality into whatever character he's given. I don't know if the intent of the writer was for this character to have such inner turmoil all the time, but that's what Sean puts on the screen, and he seems to do it every time.

Javier Bardem really liked Sean's girlfriend when they were stationed together, and so he may or may not have arranged for Sean to get an assignment to kill someone that would then result in Sean having to leave the country. Either way, this opened up a path for Javier to move in on Jasmine Trinca as soon as Sean left the room. Sean seemed genuinely surprised when it happened, but I think the audience saw it coming.

Mark Rylance plays the guy who is supposed to be Sean's biggest enemy in the movie, and I think life would probably have been easier if Javier had switched roles with him. It's not that Mark is a particularly bad actor, but Sean's imposing physical presence requires someone more imposing. Instead, we get a guy who's about the same height as Sean Penn - but older and not nearly in as good of shape. Yes, he orders around his minions who were all supposed to be really highly trained, but we never actually fear for Sean's life at any point. Javier might've been able to bring some fear.

So, why did this movie spend $40 million on their budget and only rake in less than $16 million at the box office? Well, I don't even know when this movie came out. I don't remember seeing a single commercial online or even on the TV. Even if I had, I can't imagine paying good money to go sit in the theater and watch an action movie with Sean Penn starring in it. My recent experiences with Sean Penn movies didn't give me high expectations for this one. I expect that I am a good example of the people who just didn't see the movie in the theater.

Guess who's been working out.
The most damning thing about this movie has to be the plot. It's just so tired and boring. I don't know how many times I've seen similar movies with similar premises, and this one just really seemed uninspired. It's like a vague shadow of one of the recent Liam Neeson movies where he essentially plays the same character over and over and over again, but at least that's an interesting character. At least we get some interesting action. In this movie, we get bland performances from bland actors reading off a bland script.

Acting was okay
Direction was okay
Plot was wrote
Dialogue was bland
Cinematography was pretty good

Bottom Line: I'd put this movie in the range of the old Jean-Claude Van Damme movies in that it might be good enough to watch in the middle of the day when there's nothing else on and you're busy using your iPad anyway.

1.75/5

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