The Gunman is a snooze fest with a great cast

How can a Sean Penn movie ever go wrong? Yeah, I thought the same... until I watched this “action blockbuster”.

Shafiq Ul Hasan April 24, 2015
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 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 (
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

Facebook Conversations


donfitness | 5 years ago | Reply | Recommend Sean Penn is an anti gun fanatic. As such I would imagine there is something that makes him generally uncomfortable around guns. I don't care how great an actor one is, if they aren't completely passionate about guns there will always be something a little awkward when they are holding one. I just don't think Sean's heart was in this picture because of his politics.
Joseph Richard Stokes | 5 years ago | Reply | Recommend It's disgraceful that certain actors portray gunman and the use of firearms in their movies but if they had their way politically no one in REAL LIFE would ever be legally able to use a gun to save their own lives or the life of someone else. According to the philosophy of some of these arrogant elitists, it's OK to save a life in a movie with a gun but in real life if someone is trying to kill you the only thing you should be able to do is pick up the phone then wait for 5 minutes for the police while your attacker is actively trying to kill you, rape you, kidnap you or otherwise trying to harm you.
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