Sean Penn’s ‘The Gunman’ Is DOA
Sean Penn’s ‘The Gunman’ Is DOA
This weekend’s new action thriller offering, The Gunman starring Sean Penn, came DOA the domestic box office.
Sean Penn is a graying, righteous loner making the hard decisions no one else can or will, an improbably high body count, a soundtrack that bleeps along like the inner workings of a computer, a beautiful woman caught in the middle, but is saddled by Penn’s self-conscious altruism.
The result is a dumb, loud action movie that aspires to forcibly entertain and provoke thought but fails miserably aka DOA.
The beginning of “The Gunman” is hackneyed but intriguing.
The film centers on an international operative pursued across Europe by the organization he works for after he tries to retire, that’s Mr. Penn playing out of character. Ray Winstone plays mentor to Penn’s hitman, who is betrayed and then hunted by the organization he worked for, Mr. Winstone is terrific and believable.
Mr. Penn plays a character named Jim Terrier who works for a private security firm that is as shadowy as it is anonymous. When called upon, he steps up to the plate and does some very bad things.
Terrier is dating a young aid worker Annie (Jasmine Trinca) and is working for a jealousy-prone colleague named Felix (Javier Bardem). After the assassination, Terrier flees the country, leaving behind his girlfriend and his coworkers.
From the time the movie resets after the assassination sequence and attempts to settle into the groove of a headier, more austere movie, everything feels is pulled in opposing directions.
One is a hardcore action movie best stumbled upon on cable late at night, featuring a sequence where Mr. Penn booby traps an apartment building in order to atomize some henchmen upon entering.
In the other direction is a soft-spoken international drama, wherein Mr. Penn, complete with those soulful eyes and quivering upper lip, talks about the victims of war and dangers of privatized security firms. The bleeding heart, tree hugging Sean Penn in real life.
It earned $1.8-M Friday, and will take in only $5.2-M in its 1st frame. Directed by Pierre Morel (the Taken Series staring Liam Neeson), the R-rated thriller earned a B- CinemaScore
Produced by Joel Silver’s Silver Pictures, Gunman may only top out at $8-M in its North American debut, marking the latest Joel Silver title to struggle. Open Road Films is distributing in the US.
Mr. Morel’s film could be beat by the latest Christian film to hit theaters, Do You Believe?, which hopes to take advantage of the Easter holiday frame. The film was directed by Jonathan M. Gunn and stars Ted McGinley, Mira Sorvino, Lee Majors, Cybill Shepherd and Brian Bosworth.
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