The Gunman (2015)



Critic Consensus: With an uninspired plot and rote set pieces that are overshadowed by its star's physique, The Gunman proves a muddled misfire in the rapidly aging Over-50 Action Hero genre.

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THE GUNMAN, the new action thriller from Pierre Morel, the director of Taken, stars Sean Penn, Javier Bardem, Idris Elba, Ray Winstone and Mark Rylance. (C) Open Road
R (for strong violence, language and some sexuality)
Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:

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Sean Penn
as James Terrier
Idris Elba
as Barnes
Ray Winstone
as Stanley

News & Interviews for The Gunman

Critic Reviews for The Gunman

All Critics (162) | Top Critics (40)

Rarely, though, have two Academy Award-winning actors been so stunningly off the mark in the same movie.

March 27, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

I object to The Gunman because it's unconvincing and incoherent.

Full Review… | March 23, 2015
Top Critic

A dull, generic retread, made far worse by Penn's self-seriousness as an actor, by the banal political pieties he's grafted on as producer and co-writer, and by the presence of a pitifully retrograde female lead role.

Full Review… | March 20, 2015
The Atlantic
Top Critic

I doubt The Gunman will do much to advance Penn's foray into action-hero bankability, and that's probably a good thing. He's too fine an actor to be mired in nonstop shootouts while flashing his pecs and looking scowly.

Full Review… | March 20, 2015
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic

The Gunman degenerates into dreary setups for guns and gore. Penn merits more. So do we.

March 20, 2015
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

The actors are good and the action is thrilling. And if the film isn't quite as seriously political as I'm guessing Penn told himself it was, it's definitely an offbeat change of pace for us.

Full Review… | March 19, 2015
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Gunman


The Gunman is a serviceable action thriller that will mostly apply to fans of the so-obviously aging Sean Penn. It's at times almost painful to watch the man fall apart as the film moves through its entertaining, yet often intense set pieces. In reality, movies like these seem to only exist to highlight the fact that actors like Penn should really be focusing his talents on films in genres more suited to his age. There is some hackneyed plot about people being double-crossed and framed for stuff for they didn't do, as well as some political undertones to give this some misplaced self-importance. Honestly, while mildly entertaining as a throw away action film, The Gunman never truly convinces as anything more.

Jason Szabo
Jason Szabo

Super Reviewer


A rather bland political thriller, The Gunman clumsily tries to mix action with political conspiracy. The story follows a former military contractor named Jim Terrier whose past comes back to haunt him when a group of mercenaries come looking for him. The action is pretty good, but the politics are extremely ham-fisted and aren't incorporated into the film very well. Featuring Sean Penn, Javier Bardem, and Ray Winstone, the cast is quite impressive and they give some strong performances. However, the script is weak and does give them much to work with. Still, there's a fair amount of mystery and suspense as Terrier tracks down those who are behind the attempts to kill him, and learns who he can and cannot trust. The Gunman isn't really a bad film, it's just poorly executed.

Dann Michalski
Dann Michalski

Super Reviewer

A tough, mature and grown-up action movie, Director, Pierre Morel solidly hits his mark with a story with tons of suspense, character development, spectacular action and a awesome cast. An explosive and gritty action-packed edge of your seat thriller. It's an electrifying and pulse-pounding film. Sean Penn is riveting, he perfectly fits the mantle of action hero and is welcomed to the crowd of mature stars. It also have fantastic performances from Ray Winstone, Mark Rylance, Javier Bardem and Idris Elba.

Al S
Al S

Super Reviewer

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