Movie Review: The Gunman -- Cashing the Check, Paying the Price

03/18/2015 08:05 am ET | Updated May 18, 2015


Sean Penn is a global activist who puts his money -- and, more important, his physical self -- where others barely pay lip service. 

His advocacy on behalf of the voiceless is stirring, but it obviously is also time-consuming and costly. So when a paycheck role like The Gunman comes along, you figure, well, the money supports bigger causes than Penn's lifestyle. 

Not that Penn needs sympathy for taking a role for the money. That role also included shooting locations in London, Paris and Madrid. Tough work but someone's got to do it. 

It's easy to understand the career math here: Penn is a two-time Oscar-winner who hasn't made a significant movie in several years. At this point, he's relatively unknown to a millennial audience, which was barely old enough to buy tickets for Milk in 2008, his last truly watchable film. So why not pair him with director Pierre Morel, who put new spin on the career of Liam Neeson with Taken? Sean Penn, welcome to the corps of aging action heroes. 

Unfortunately, the script, while making broad political points, otherwise plays as by-the-numbers action fodder.

This review continues on my website.