The Gunman Blu-ray Review
Maybe Pierre Morel should stick to cinematography work on someone’s project. While the one outlier in Morel’s directing career is TAKEN, I would say it’s safe to say his low point would be THE GUNMAN. Multiple Oscar winners and well cut action sequences can’t save this sinking ship. THE GUNMAN is bogged down by a convoluted script, messy storytelling, and dull characters.
Besides the sloppy story, there’s way too much going on this movie. When we meet Jim Terrier (Penn), he’s preparing to kill a Minister in Congo. The execution is flawless, but the aftermath destroys Terrier’s life, which we don’t know a whole lot about. Jim flees and begins a life eerily similar to Sean Penn’s worldly escapades. He’s devoted his life to helping out those in third world countries. But interrupting his charitable second-life is a group of thugs sent to kill him.
We’re now under 10 minutes into the movie and we’ve gone from two different locales and story set-ups to the core plot of the movie, which becomes even more confusing. He is now traveling throughout Europe, trying to find out who put a hit out on him and why. Along the way he reconnects with the love of his life, Annie (Trinca) and meets a former colleague, Felix (Javier Bardem). Throughout Europe, he dispatches endless amounts of bad guys with a healthy amount of endless video game bullets that always find their mark, and of course finds time to develop crippling migraines when it’s convenient for the battle scenes.
Nothing’s worse than boredom in an action movie, but that’s exactly what THE GUNMAN has to offer. How a handful Oscar award winners and nominees signed up for this movie is beyond me. I can only guess that everyone wanted a paid vacation or they all neglected to read the script. If they did read the script, maybe they see what makes this a good story because I surely don’t. By the end of the movie, we’ve witnessed political commentary, espionage, thriller clichés, a failed character study of Jim, and none of them work well or make sense.
Just like most R-rated action movies, there’s a lot of over the top violence, explosions, blood, and a couple of moments of gore. The action has no real stakes since most of the time, Jim just points his gun and waves of people die at the pull of trigger. I give credit to Penn, who up until this point, comes off as a decent action star. He’s bulked up considerably for the role and could have no problem besting Sylvester Stallone in an arm wrestling match.
Outside of his well-toned body, he’s transitioned those smooth acting skills we’ve seen in much better movies, to a significantly more toned down role. Sure he cries out in pain, yells a lot, but most action movies simply rely on pure rage for those howls of anger. Penn relies on something deeper to add a touch of meaning to Jim’s wrath. But given a better movie to be in, Penn could pull off the charismatic and suave action star.
THE GUNMAN lacks originality in nearly every aspect, outside of its actor choices. Idris Elba shows up later in the movie as an unnecessary, glorified cameo. It’s almost like a complete circle of award winning actors is made once he arrives to give a forgettable couple of lines. THE GUNMAN is, simply put, a bad movie. It doesn’t try that hard so I won’t put in anymore effort on explaining why THE GUNMAN is a waste of your time.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2:39:1) Lots of gorgeous landscapes are wasted on this movie, but they come through clear on this blu-ray presentation. When it comes to the real grit of action sequences, they also appear pristine.
Audio: (English Dolby TrueHD 7.1) I didn’t experience any sound volume issues like I usually do in a blu-ray. I didn’t have to turn down the volume for the explosions nor turn it up for the dialogue.