The Gunman was a hard one to gauge by the trailers – whilst it looked like it could be a solid action flick at the same time it didn’t look like there was a whole lot to it. I was worried that I might not be ale to engage with it if the action scenes weren’t top notch.
The Gunman ends up being a really solid action movie and is an entertaining night at the cinema. Let’s start with the action, this crucial element of the film is done really well. Sean Penn does well with the combat scenes and is really convincing as the action star. Much like last years 3 Days To Kill, Penn’s character is suffering from a sickness of sorts here. Unlike the awful way this theme plays out in 3 Days To Kill in The Gunman it is handled well, providing a barrier for Penn to overcome but not removing all chance of action for the viewer. The action is mainly combat and gun fights, a few car chases wouldn’t have gone a miss but The Gunman is a more sophisticated action movie opposed to a trashy outing so I can see why the action chosen was included. Several scenes in the movie really cranked up the tension too which I loved, for these scenes you really were on edge and you were trying to work out where the threat was coming from. These scenes really lifted the film and made it even more engaging for these sections. The was a cleverness to several of the action scenes as well which was always enjoyable, and things weren’t always immediately clear to the viewer which added a little something too.
All of the big names, Sean Penn, Ray Winstone, Javier Bardem and Idris Elba perform well in their varying degrees of involvement. However I wasn’t so convinced by the female lead Jasmine Trinca, at times her performance felt a little forced but it never became a major issue. One thing that did detract from the film though was the fairly bland characters. I simply didn’t warm to any of them, now I didn’t dislike them either but I was never really routing for anyone – it was the strength of the action sequences that kept me entertained and engaged. Due to the boring characters The Gunman does feel a little longer than it actually was and what I felt that it could have benefited from was just a little bit more fun. There were several opportunities for the action sequences to be enhanced but they were never taken which was a shame. Nonetheless The Gunman is a very competent movie but it should be noted that it is a more serious entry into the action genre.
The Gunman delivers on the action scenes throughout the movie, these never disappoint. However the characters needed to be more interesting to completely win me over to the movie, the way round this problem would have been for the film to loosen up slightly and have a bit more fun. Although with good performances from the well known actors, great action, moments of tension and some clever aspects The Gunman is still a good film it just never goes any further.
Rating – 8/10