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IMDB Rating : 5.6
IMDB Votes : 1,532
User Reviews : 15
Movie Rated : R
Date Released : 20 March 2015
Run Time : 115 min
Movie Genre : Action, Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Movie Director : Pierre Morel
Movie Writer : Don MacPherson, Jean-Patrick Manchette
Movie Stars : Sean Penn, Idris Elba, Jasmine Trinca, Javier Bardem
The Gunman A sniper on a mercenary assassination team, working for an unknown client, kills the minister of mines of the Congo. Terrier’s (Sean Penn’s) successful kill shot forces him to go into hiding to protect himself and the members of the team from retribution. This includes abruptly abandoning his girlfriend who has no idea what is going on. The assassination, paid for by a foreign mining company, triggers wide spread chaos and death in an already inflamed Congo. Terrier returns to the Congo years later working for an NGO, but eventually finds himself to be the target of a paid hit squad somehow connected to the ministers assassination. This leads to immediate deaths and the endangerment of the people working around him, and forces him back into hiding. In trying to discover who has put a price on his head, he begins to reconnect to the members of his old assassination team, including his old girlfriend. Always aware there is no path to redemption for his crimes, he is also periodically …
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Best use of bull
Greetings again from the darkness. Sean Penn becomes the latest addition to the AARP action hero club a very crowded club these days. Unfortunately for Mr. Penn, he lacks the smirky charm of Bruce Wills, the uber-cool of Denzel Washington, and he fails to generate the empathy of Liam Neeson. He simply doesn't come across as a very likable guy, and certainly not someone we can root for.
Based on the novel of Jean-Patrick Manchette, the movie starts out in the Democratic Republic of Congo where Penn is a mercenary disguised as part of a mining security detail. The first 20 minutes are convoluted and introduce numerous characters and sub-plots that leave us wondering if there are any good guys here other than Penn's idealistic doctor girlfriend played by Jasmine Trinca. A sure sign of a weak script is a film that is bookended by "newscasts" to explain both what is going to happen as well as what just happened.
Pierre Morel directed the first Taken movie, and his cast is stellar: Sean Penn, Javier Bardem, Idris Elba, Ray Winstone, and Mark Rylance. Somehow that combination delivers a hokey, over-acted, cheesy dialogue mess featuring absurd shoot-outs and action sequences that try to convince us Penn is some kind of quasi-superhero. His transformation from geopolitical hit-man to humanitarian is tough to buy, and it's downright chuckle-inducing to see the times he manages to show off his sculpted torso. We can only assume his personal trainer received a bonus for each shirtless scene.
The story bounces from Africa to London to Barcelona to Gibraltar and back to Barcelona. It does include the best use of a live bull so far this year, though the actual bullfighting is somehow one of the least gruesome segments of the entire film. The film isn't as sneaky as it thinks it is in making a statement about multinational corporations raiding Third World resources. Evidently, the message is that former assassins can be forgiven if they are re-born as committed to humanitarian causes, but capitalistic companies cannot possibly justify their work in impoverished areas.
All of the above could be shrugged off if so many wasted opportunities didn't consistently frustrate. Penn has scenes with all of the other actors mentioned above, but there is almost no interaction between the others. Why no confrontations between Idris and Javier? How about one sequence with Penn, Javier and Winstone squaring off? So many fun actors, but so little cross-over. Frustration may be the best overall description for this one, and it encompasses everything from script to dialogue to camera work.