The Gunman is a snooze fest with a great cast

Published: April 24, 2015

Sean Penn is definitely a good actor but perhaps this was just not the role for him. PHOTO: GUNMAN FACEBOOK PAGE

A good action movie never fails to impress its audiences. This is why the action movie genre is the safest bet for producers and directors and guarantees box office revenues.

Having said that, it is also true that some movies just don’t have what it takes, which is saying a lot, and the reasons are repetitive plots and identical scripts. In order to produce great action, changes in plots and somewhat believable action scenes are required. After all, movie-goers these days are getting smarter.

The Gunman is one such recently released action film which stars Sean Penn along with a group of decent performers like Peter FranzénMark RylanceRay WinstonemIdris Elba and Javier Bardem.

I know what you’re thinking – how can a Sean Penn-movie ever go wrong? Yeah, I thought the same… until I watched this “blockbuster”.


The plot revolves around a special forces associate, Jim (Penn), who falls in love with a humanitarian doctor, Annie (Jasmine Trinca). But unfortunately, their romance is fleeting. After successfully completing an assignment in Congo, Jim leaves both Congo and Annie behind when duty calls.


Eight years later, when Jim visits Congo again, he is attacked by an unknown assailant. To get some answers, Jim turns to his friends, Felix (Bardem)and Cox (Mark Rylance), but he finds them fighting their own battles. Jim then realises that he is alone in this and that going back to the ‘gunman’ life will not be an easy route.

Does Jim manage to find out who this silent attacker is?

More importantly, can the mighty Jim win?

Well, I guess you’ll have to watch it for yourself and find out.


Performance wise, The Gunman fails to impress, as hard as it is to believe. Penn’s performance resembles Liam Neeson’s in the Taken series. In fact, at various points in the movie, Penn looks and walks just like Neeson, which was a huge disappointment for me. Penn is definitely a good actor but perhaps this was just not the role for him. The other performances in the movie are also literally a waste of their talents.

I mean, come on, you have Penn, Bardem and Elba! How can you mess that up?


The stunts, chase scenes and dialogues are so worn out that they might just put you to sleep. The plot gets predictable as there is no element of surprise whatsoever. Furthermore, the relationship between Elba and Penn is ill-conceived. The script and production team could have pulled off a great blockbuster had they worked on it with a different angle.

Photo: The Gunman Official Facebook Page

Looking at it from a directorial point of view, if you’re in a good mood, you just might enjoy the movie. But if you’re not, then it comes across as an average watch with some action sprinkled here and there.

Director Pierre Morel terribly fails to deliver something even remotely close to Taken, if that is what he was going forUnfortunately, the movie lacks substances and will cease to be remembered. It greatly misses the target and terribly so.


In terms of production quality, direction, script, action and performance, I would give it a mere 2 out of 5.

Shafiq Ul Hasan

Shafiq Ul Hasan

The author is an avid movie lover and reviews films and dramas regularly. He is a professional digital inbound marketer. He has worked with a silicon valley-based social network as a content analyst. He blogs at and tweets as @shafiqulhasan81 (

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