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Sean Penn’s ex-mercenary turned do-gooder proves to be in lethally good nick when his past catches up with him in globetrotting action thriller The Gunman. The remarkably buff Penn shows off his social conscience as well as his muscles (shirtless, his forearms look as brawny as Popeye’s), but the action sequences are always more persuasive than the soul searching — a blistering shootout in a Spanish villa also involving ex-girlfriend Justine Trinca and ex-partner-in-crime Javier Bardem being a case in point. The script – co-written by Penn – spoils things a bit by falling back on tired clichés, particularly at the climax, which heavy-handedly intercuts the gory action in a Barcelona bullfight with Penn’s final showdown with the bad guys.
Certificate 15. Runtime 115 mins. Director Pierre Morel.
The Gunman is available on EST, Blu-Ray and DVD and Limited Edition Steelbook from StudioCanal.