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Sean Penn stars as the targeted, reformed killer, Jim Terrier, alongside Mark Rylance as Cox in Pierre Morel’s latest film.

Keith Bernstein/Open Road Films

1 out of 4 stars

Written by
Sean Penn, Don MacPherson and Pete Travis
Directed by
Pierre Morel
Starring
Sean Penn, Javier Bardem and Mark Rylance
Classification
14A
Country
USA
Language
English

Sean Penn smokes, glowers and shows off his knotty naked torso in this vain, risible misfire of a thriller about a reformed killer, from Taken director Pierre Morel.

Early scenes in Democratic Republic of the Congo establish Penn as Jim Terrier, a grizzled NGO security consultant enjoying a fling with pretty young doctor Annie (Jasmine Trinca) before it emerges that Jim and his buddy Felix (Javier Bardem) are really hired killers working for evil mining interests. Eight years later, Jim, back in Congo as a repentant aid worker, finds himself the target of a hired killing attempt and sets out to find who betrayed him.

The remainder of the film sees Jim flying, driving and shooting his way through scenic European locations while meeting with shadowy men (Ray Winstone, Mark Rylance, Idris Elba). Jim also enjoys a lusty reunion with Annie (now married to Felix) before a car chase and an extended showdown during a bullfight.

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To complicate things, Jim suffers from a degenerative brain condition, which makes The Gunman play like a queasy blend of Still Alice and The Bourne Identity.

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