Metascore
39

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 41 Critics What's this?

User Score
4.3

Mixed or average reviews- based on 28 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 41
  2. Negative: 13 out of 41
  1. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Mar 19, 2015
    75
    Basically, The Gunman is a movie that asks audiences to sympathize with the equivalent of Lee Harvey Oswald — that is, an Oswald who definitely did it. Oddly enough, it succeeds, partly because the moral climate it presents seems so confused, but mainly because of Penn’s particular aura of irascible integrity. He’s the most irritated action hero since Harrison Ford.
  2. Reviewed by: James Dyer
    Mar 16, 2015
    60
    Sub-Ludlum plotting but stylishly executed, this offers a fun night out but is far from a nailed-on franchise-starter.
  3. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Mar 20, 2015
    50
    In fact, no one in The Gunman looks happy. And what happened to chivalry? If a fierce squad of goons is coming after you and your ex, whom you still love, and there's only one Kevlar vest to throw on, don't you offer it to her? Apparently not.
  4. Reviewed by: James Mottram
    Mar 16, 2015
    40
    A genuine disappointment, given the talent involved, and a rare misstep for Penn, who can’t save this moribund vanity project from flatlining.
  5. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Mar 19, 2015
    40
    It’s not a hard and fast rule, but in general when the main character, sometime in the third act, says, “I did some bad things ... ” and stares off into the middle distance, the implied end of the sentence is “including this movie.”
  6. Reviewed by: Chris Cabin
    Mar 15, 2015
    38
    The lack of any visual ingenuity, reflexivity, or awareness of genre tropes diminishes the intermittent pleasures of the action's slightly involving kineticism.
  7. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Mar 18, 2015
    25
    For meat-headed incoherence, a badly written, poorly directed and confusingly acted muddle of global nonsense, The Gunman is another ill-conceived entry in the latest dopey trend of middle-aged men blowing up stuff.

See all 41 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 10
  2. Negative: 4 out of 10
  1. Mar 23, 2015
    9
    I saw the "The Gunman" in a cinema chair. For me it was simply one of the best movies I've seen lately. The story and the suspense held me toI saw the "The Gunman" in a cinema chair. For me it was simply one of the best movies I've seen lately. The story and the suspense held me to the chair until the end of the movie. In the background there is much reality that is unknown in the interests of a large multinational and its ability to achieve its goals. Great movie. Expand
  2. Mar 31, 2015
    6
    Good production on the vistas and action sequences, but lackluster story and imprecise use of the veteran actors hamper the movie. WithGood production on the vistas and action sequences, but lackluster story and imprecise use of the veteran actors hamper the movie. With credible cast touring different memorable cities, the film is visually engaging for most of the time. It also delivers a couple of devastating action choreography of Bourne level. However, it trudges through bland story of stereotypical espionage and uninteresting romance. While the collective acting prowess is barely able to keep the film interesting, these experienced actors surprisingly don't perform consistently enough to fully maximize their potential.

    Story follows Terrier (Sean Penn), a secret operative who fled an African country after an assassination. Years later this come back to haunt as someone cleans up everyone who are involved of said assassination. Strangely, the thriller invests majority of the content for romance subplot between Terrier and Annie (Jasmine Trinca), the ex-lover who might still harbor feelings. These two don't have a lot of chemistry. Their characters are plain and one-dimensional, a rugged volatile man and his static wooden love interest.

    It also creates needless love triangle plot that offers nothing but awkwardness, audience will know what to expect and still cringe at the execution. Credit to Javier Bardem as Felix, the love adversary of Terrier. He delivers the best performance with his enigmatic yet not-so-charismatic role. His character here might not be supremely likeable nor does he have lengthy appearance, but he's fascinating in every scene he graces. Idris Elba is always engaging, but he only makes brief appearance, even shorter than Bardem.

    The bulk of the film rests on Sean Penn, who is undeniably a good actor and looking physically fit for this role, although he doesn't seem to be comfortable here. This kind of ex-special force gimmick isn't his forte and the way he interacts with Trinca's Annie is rigid. These two just don't mesh together, despite numerous erotic scenes. Penn is looking anguished or tormented while Trinca is all sad and confused all the time. It's just odd, and to make matter worse, their relationship is supposed to be the heart of the film.

    Penn does better with the action. The movie has cool cinematography and choreography. It spans throughout many cities, which are portrayed with decent amount of flamboyant touches for their signature looks. Set pieces transition well, the film moves nicely when it's not encumbered by the banter. Action is produced with significant effort, they are fast and precise, exceptionally thrilling when strikes or bullets landed.

    Unfortunately, the film also overreaches with political undertone. Its message might be more welcomed if it could at least make the audience relate to the core characters. The Gunman offers shooting spree across exotic places aplenty, but with such caliber cast, it could've been more than just an average spy thriller.
    Expand
  3. Mar 20, 2015
    6
    It's unfair to say "The Gunman" is a bad film. After all, it's expertly shot, scored and edited. The actors authentically portray theirIt's unfair to say "The Gunman" is a bad film. After all, it's expertly shot, scored and edited. The actors authentically portray their characters and Sean Penn, expectedly, is exceptional as Jim Terrier. The plot is credible once we accept that, like most movies, it's a work of fiction. Yet "The Gunman" still fails on a thematic level. It's major problem is that it lacks focus. It attempts to provide a character study within the context of a political thriller through the convention of an action film.

    A brief summary is necessary: Jim Terrier works for a private security company that is part of a conspiracy network to assassinate unfriendly political officials in developing countries. So, the company orders Terrier to murder a political official, which he does, and he then flees the country. Several years later Terrier feels remorseful and then tries to redeem himself through honorable non-profit work. Yet, his life is then threatened and he uses his special operations skills to identify and shatter the conspiracy network that is behind it.

    In the process, he confronts a jealous friend and a former girlfriend that still loves him but feels betrayed by his earlier abandonment. Simultaneously, American congressmen and INTERPOL investigate the now esteemed private security company over its alleged past misdeeds. Because by representing the financial interests of its clients, it instigated and compounded the problems that plagued the developing country, in this case the DRC, insofar as resource exploitation, government corruption and civil war are concerned. It's implied that developing countries continue to be exploited by financial interests that rely on private military contractors to resolve their political problems.

    I commend "The Gunman" for its ambitions and for presenting a restrained yet suspenseful action thriller. But because it attempts to tackle all of the themes above, it fails in successfully addressing any of them. So, the viewer leaves the theatre apathetic and confused. He asks, what exactly is the point of this movie? And unfortunately, one can't use the excuse that ambiguity is its point and justify it on the principle that its dealing with complex matters.

    In "The Gunman", Sean Penn, as lead actor, co-writer and producer, attempted to use the action genre to create a more serious and meaningful film. And yes, it's more interesting, credible and substantive than "The Equalizer" or "John Wick." But unfortunately, his attempt failed and the film, if anything, is disappointing.
    Expand
  4. Mar 24, 2015
    4
    Sean Penn is on the run after the guys who hired him to assassinate a major figure are out to eliminate him. His plight takes him down tooSean Penn is on the run after the guys who hired him to assassinate a major figure are out to eliminate him. His plight takes him down too many talky pathways and dull romantic moments. Since it's directed by Pierre Morel (who did the original "Taken"), the fight scenes are flashy and violent. There just aren't enough of them. Penn's very fit body (which is shown off plenty) belies his craggy, rough face, which is locked in an intense scowl. A forgettable film. Expand
  5. Mar 23, 2015
    3
    Remember that time Matthew Fox was in that Roshamon rip-off set in Spain? Or that time that they remade The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 for someRemember that time Matthew Fox was in that Roshamon rip-off set in Spain? Or that time that they remade The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 for some reason? No? That's a shame, because either is more memorable than this late-career paycheck for Sean Penn. In a loving ode to both Safe House and the Constant Gardner (that's what they did, right?...intentionally combined the most boring parts of these movies to cinematic test of fortitude for the casual observer), Sean Penn gallops around the world kicking all sorts of bad-guy-butt like only a 54-year-old can do these days. Somebody done him wrong...and they're about to get theirs once he figures it out.

    The positives - the actors are top-notch (and committed to their roles), the scenery is quite lovely, and the film is not (as I suspected about half-way through) 4 hours long. The negatives - boring, derivative, falsely preachy, and saddled with the worst dialog I have seen since Attack of the Clones.

    On the bright side, Sean Penn is extra bulked up. Which made me think...if he can look like that at his age, then I definitely can. I'm hitting the gym tonight and my wife will thank me for it in a year or so. So thanks for that, Mr. Penn. Sorry you had to melt your guns for your new lady, since it looks like you must have really missed them after making this movie.
    Expand
  6. Mar 22, 2015
    1
    How many times can this same plot be done? Poorly written, poorly directed badly acted. The Gunman is just another shoot stuff up, blow stuffHow many times can this same plot be done? Poorly written, poorly directed badly acted. The Gunman is just another shoot stuff up, blow stuff up, make lots of noise and flames boring movie. Ca someone in Hollywood please make something creative already. Expand
  7. Mar 22, 2015
    0
    no guns in the movie sean pean takes his shrit off and 2nd worst of the year the the hole movie suck sean pean is not a good actor and alsono guns in the movie sean pean takes his shrit off and 2nd worst of the year the the hole movie suck sean pean is not a good actor and also every actor in the movie sucks Expand

See all 10 User Reviews

Trailers

Showtimes

To get showtimes near you, enter your zip code.