The Gunman

Rated 3.0

A former professional assassin (Sean Penn), eight years retired, suddenly finds himself hunted by the kind of hit-team he used to work on; he doesn't know who or why, but it seems to have something to do with his last job, the killing of a Congolese official. Based (apparently loosely) on a 1981 novel by French crime writer Jean-Patrick Manchette, Don MacPherson's script is pretty standard standard stuff—not particularly original or suspenseful, a little muddled and not strictly logical, but serviceable enough. Penn's mumbling and the occasional thick British accent sometimes make the proceedings a little hard to follow, but director Pierre Morel knows how to stage his shoot-'em-ups with a potent visceral charge. Ray Winstone, Mark Rylance, Jasmine Trinca and Javier Bardem come along for the ride. J.L.