Under the Radar

Sean Penn is Fully Committed in ‘The Gunman’

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In The Gunman (opening in theaters this Friday), Sean Penn plays Jim Terrier, a former Special Forces operative now working in the private sector. After a nasty job involving an NGO and a shadowy mining interests in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Terrier goes underground but fallout from the operation forces him back into action several years later.

We’ve got the U.S. debut of a clip where Sean Penn aims to settle things once and for all with Reiniger (played by Peter Franzén), the current lead badass for his former employers. In the bowels of a Barcelona bullfighting arena, Penn employs guns, knives and Krav Maga in his quest.

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Since Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger became stars back in the ‘80s, there’s seemingly been a requirement that action heroes have a bemused sense of attachment from their onscreen missions. Even Liam Neeson’s performance in the original Taken (also directed by The Gunman’s Pierre Morel), has a bit of a knowing wink.

Sean Penn wants none of that. He’s dead serious and the movie is a throwback to the paranoid ‘70s thrillers like Three Days of the Condor or The Parallax View, except with extra violence and gunplay.

Check back later this week for our exclusive interview with Pierre Morel, where he talks about the real-world influences on this movie, developing the film with Sean Penn and why the French make such good action pictures these days.

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