Did you ever want to see a roided-up Sean Penn star in a male wish-fulfillment fantasy where he makes Javier Bardem look like a dumb Spanish pansy? Well then “The Gunman” is for you.
“Gunman” is about a former Special Ops (because of of course) guy who has a past providing security for humanitarian compounds in The Congo, and–oh yeah–assassinating the country’s Minister of Mining. He tries to atone for his past misdeeds by returning to his old haunts and digging wells for the locals. He also has time to surf and lift weights for about four hours a day, apparently. His super-manly existence is upended when he’s attacked by men looking to get a Proof of Kill. The rest of “The Gunman” is about his surprisingly uninteresting attempts to find out exactly who’s targeting him.
The gunman is a badass. Buff and self-assured and able to get himself out of a jam in almost supero-esque ways. He also has a European Girlfriend TM. (European Girlfriend TM* has a French accent but speaks and understands English perfectly. European Girlfriend is effortlessly lovely, with soulful brown eyes, charmingly-crooked teeth, beautiful skin and perfectly-tousled chin-length brown hair. European Girlfriend maintains her artifice-free loveliness merely by walking to patisseries and bathing in artisanal olive oil.) And she’s anxious to hop on his junk despite being married to Javier Bardem and being repeatedly ditched by the gunman (for her safety, of course).
Speaking of Javier Bardem, I went to the film thinking he’d be in it a lot more. He made the movie for me– I love watching the man act. His reactions to losing European Girlfriend to Gunman over and over are the best, most emotionally-wrought parts of the film. Otherwise, I’d say “The Gunman” is merely a passable way to spend two hours.
*Sometimes European Girlfriend has slightly longer hair…and a Spanish accent.