The Gunman (2015)
|Writers:||Don McPherson, Sean Penn, Pete Travis|
|Released:||Friday, March 20, 2015|
|Studio:||Open Road Films|
|Rating:||Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.|
It has been eight years since Jim Terrier (Penn) worked as a black-ops assassin and now someone from his old organization wants him dead. Pursued across Africa and Europe by a team of elite hit men, Terrier is dragged back into his dangerous past as he engages in a relentless cat-and-mouse game to take out the man who betrayed him.
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The Gunman Blu-ray Review
Heading to Blu-ray and DVD on June 30, 2015, The Gunman reminds us that the sins of our past will always come back to haunt us. Starring Sean Penn (Milk, Mystic River), Jasmine Trinca(Honey), and Javier Bardem (Skyfall), it is a look into the world and politics of mining in the Congo, the civil unrest that ensued and the fall out of a special ops initiative 8 years later.
Penn plays Terrier, overtly an American Missionary in Congo and, covertly, a special ops working behind the scenes in a country in Chaos. Trinca is his love interest, Annie, a medic helping the wounded that come in on a daily basis. Bardem is Felix and fills out the triangle as one of Terrier's Colleagues who is entrusted with looking after Annie when Terrier is required to leave the country after assassinating the Minister of Mining.
Fast forward to 8 years later and Terrier is back in the Congo once again working as a missionary helping to dig wells. When three gunmen show up at the well site looking for the "white man", Terrier discovers they were sent to kill him. He returns first to London to try and get some answers and enlist the help of former colleagues and then to Barcelona where he show up to dinner with Felix and Annie who are now married. Running from a price on his head while trying to save the woman he loves takes all of Terrier's cunning and energy.
Penn is dark and brooding, like many of his characters, but delivers a strong performance full of nuanced emotions. Bardem is good and plays a heck of a drunk but Trinca seems a little ‘off' and, to me, doesn't quite fit in this role. However, she and Penn have terrific chemistry which helps.
Sadly, the plot is confusing and convoluted and after 2 hours I can honestly say I have very little idea what this movie is about. Good casting unfortunately can't make up for a sub-par screenplay. I don't know who was trying to kill Terrier or why he was assigned to kill the Minister of Mining in the first place. The writers also chose to add a subplot of a barely explained illness that Terrier has which cause him to experience cloudy vision, fainting and vomiting at stressful times. Also, somehow Interpol was tied up in all of this mess but their involvement wasn't really fleshed either.
The bull fight scene was an excellent use of symbolism as the poor bull was chasing the Matador while Terrier was fighting and trying to elude the hit men trying to kill him. Other than that, I didn't find much appealing about the film.
The 1080p video does what you would expect and fleshes out lush colors and sharp pictures. The view from Annie's and Felix's Countryside "retreat" is especially beautiful. The Dolby Atmos audio is crisp and every gunshot ricochets off the surround sound speakers with clarity. In an unusual move, there are no extras on the Blu-ray/DVD. What you see is what you get.
Unfortunately, what you get is some good acting, some interesting actions scenes and a story that is too involved and not fleshed out well enough. It seems the writers tried to incorporate too many elements into too short of a time frame and left our key components in the process. Grade: C-
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