“The Gunman” Movie Review


This is a public service announcement from AWC. Please, let us save you time, money, and disappointment. There are certain things in life you’re better off hearing about, than seeing. For example, someone accidentally shooting themselves, a bad case of food poisoning, or the new movie, The Gunman.

There it was in living color, larger than life on the big screen. The words came right out of the mouth of Sean Penn himself in one of the most anticipated films of 2015.

“I did some bad things. I did some bad things.” Yeah you did, Sean. The Gunman is definitely one of them.

In the film, the real-life anti-gunner Penn plays a former Special Forces soldier, Jim Terrier. On assignment in the Congo, he is the sniper ordered by his colleague, Felix, to assassinate the Minister of Mining. After the kill, Terrier must exit the continent immediately, leaving behind his love, Annie. All along, Felix wanted her and gets Annie to be his wife.

8 years later, Terrier returns to the Congo as a humanitarian. Rebels try to kill him. This leads him to run around the world in a cat and mouse game trying to find out who wants him dead. To make matters worse, Jim Terrier suffers from guilt, blurred vision, PTSD, flashbacks, memory loss, amyloid plaque buildup on his brain, and more. Halfway into the film, there’s a good chance you’ll be thinking everyone involved with The Gunman probably does, too.

Penn didn’t just take the starring role for a nice paycheck. He is one of the producers, and writers of The Gunman screenplay. The script, outside of Jim Terrier’s friend, Stanley, creates no characters for you to connect with or like. The settings in the movie take you from the Congo, to London, Barcelona, and Gibraltar. But really, most of the scenes go absolutely nowhere.

Given Sean Penn’s political views, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The soldiers in The Gunman show no real redeeming qualities. Blood is on their hands. They express no pride, no sense of duty, no hope and no happiness. There is only regret, remorse, pain and more pain.

The powerful Jim Terrier has some gruesome kills in the movie. Yet, the real message Sean Penn seems to want an audience to get is he is now buff. It looks like he wants to be the next middle-aged action movie hero, ala Arnold or Sly. The camera seems like it has a quota to meet showing Sean’s muscular pecs and vein popping biceps. However, the film itself is a total lightweight.

The Gunman tries to be an action thriller like the Bourne Legacy. Sadly, it comes off much more like the Boring Supremacy.

Really, the only funny line in the entire movie is when Jim Terrier tells Felix he is going hunting “for whatever is in season. I just need to shoot something.” What’s even funnier is, by the time you leave the movie theatre after seeing The Gunman …you’ll probably feel the same way.