Sunday, 28 June 2015

No.125 : The Gunman

The Gunman at the IMDb

Sean Penn stars in this action thriller directed by the same bloke who did ‘Taken’. As you’d probably guess it’s not the sort of film to bother the academy but it would certainly qualify as a guilty pleasure.

The film opens with random news reports concerning the troubles in the Congo eight years ago. All the newsreaders are, as usual, British which suggests that they are both cheap and lacking the journalistic integrity of their American colleagues.

Sean plays Jim who is providing security for the construction of a new airport in the Congo. He also has a sideline in black ops and when a mining minister cancels some contracts Sean gets the job of taking out the pesky politician. After the hit he is spirited out the country by his handler Javier Bardem, which is convenient for Javier as he has designs on Sean’s Italian lady friend.

8 years pass and, a clearly guilt wracked Sean is back in the developing world helping the locals by drilling them wells. Things kick off however when a pretty slack hit team try to kill him, only to be dispatched by Sean and his plucky sidekick. Smelling a rat Sean heads to London to tip off his fellow mercenary Cox who is now a successful businessman. Cox agrees to put out the feelers whilst Sean heads to Barcelona to meet Javier, who has now married Sean’s woman, and to get some information from underworld insider Ray Winstone.

The rest of the film is as you’d expect with a lot of running about and double crosses as Sean tries to escape the killers and to clear his somewhat grubby name.

I have to confess to liking this film. It was rubbish but enjoyable fluff that that had plenty of unintentional laughs along the way. Penn for starters is good value as the morally bankrupt cum do-gooder. He’s pumped up to an impressive degree, so much so in fact that he spends the majority of the film looking for ways to get his shirt off. He looks good for 54 but doesn't convince as an action hero especially as he can hardly aim his rifle with his muscle-bound arms. He does perform some elaborate kills however and it’s good to see him having some fun after so many earnest films.

His girlfriend, played by Jasmine Trinca has annoying habit of getting dressed just below the bottom of the screen and has a really annoying and flat character. The actress herself is terrible and more wooden than a pre-op Pinocchio. Ray Winstone is good as he plays himself (as usual) and you half expect him to mug to the camera and say ‘Rooney next goal 3-1 - have a bit of that!’ every time he’s on screen.

For your money you also get an underused Idris Elba who rattles on with a stretched metaphor about tree houses in one of his two scenes and Mark Rylance as Cox who as a baddie would make a convincing Avon lady.

The hardware and tech was all well done and the violence had that ‘Taken’ flavour of authenticity. Overall this was a fun ride and well worth your time.

THE Tag line : The Funman! - 70%


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