As pitches go, the normally choosy Sean Penn teaming with TAKEN director Pierre Morel certainly sounded a notch in sophistication above the average action thriller – positively BOURNE-esque, right? Wrong, sadly. THE GUNMAN follows Penn as a ‘retired’ mercenary soldier with memory problems – the result of one brain injury too many - who suddenly finds himself hunted down years after the completion of mission a particularly shady client.
Though full of good intentions and fine supporting performances from the likes of Javier Bardem, Mark Rylance, Ray Winstone and Idris Elba, the story starts with a foundation of too far-fetched silliness before spiralling outwards into idiocy. There are some strong individual scenes and sequences along the way, but nowhere near enough to leave you satisfied by the rather stupid conclusion.
Take-away lesson? Next time call Paul Greengrass.
THE GUNMAN is released April 16 in Australia, April 30 in New Zealand.