The Gunman (Blu-ray Review)

The Gunman From the director of Taken comes The Gunman, a pulse pounding action thriller starring two-time Academy Award winner Sean Penn. It’s been eight years since Jim Terrier (Penn) worked as a black ops assassin and now someone from his old organization wants him dead. Pursued across Africa and Europe by elite hit men, Terrier is dragged back into his dangerous past as he engages in a relentless cat-and-mouse game to take out the man who betrayed him. Idris Elba, Ray Winstone, Mark Rylance and Oscar winner Javier Bardem costar in a hair-trigger thrill ride the critics are calling, “Intense!” 

The Gunman


The Gunman stars Sean Penn as Terrier, a black ops sniper. While working in Africa, Terrier is ordered to take out a high value target. After his mission is completed persons unknown target him for removal due to his role in the previous mission. Oh, and Terrier also likes to surf. With a bounty on his head Terrier needs answers and he needs them fast. With a one-way ticket to Europe Terrier will bust some heads trying to find out who is trying to kill him.

More familiar folks begin to make appearances in The Gunman like Javier Bardem who now runs a successful organization of some kind and is married to Terrier’s ex-girlfriend that he had to leave behind in Africa when he was targeted for assassination. Things get dramatic due to her not knowing Terrier was back to try and figure out who’s trying to kill him. Ray Winstone makes an appearance as Terrier’s friend and connected compatriot. He shelters and gets Terrier the information that he needs to start tracking down the hunters that are hunting him.

The Gunman marks the triumphant return of director Pierre Morel (TakenFrom Paris With Love) to the director’s seat. I can’t believe it’s been 5 years since Paris, but it’s nice to see him making another action film.  I should point out that it’s not a traditional action film per se. There are several moments throughout that act as slow burn before the action starts. Once the action does start it goes off. The fights and action scenes are pretty brutal and very cool.

I mentioned earlier that Terrier likes to surf and he does and for being a 55-year-old man Sean Penn looks great. The supporting cast also does well in their respective roles even some are just in a cameo capacity (Idris Elba’s role comes to mind), but they do what they can. I would say that the ending of the film and the staging of it were its weak points, because it just seemed so out there. It felt very incongruent. I should also mention that Sean Penn co-wrote the film based on The Prone Gunman by Jean-Patrick Manchette, and also produced. I reckon he and Morel also had final cut.

The Gunman revolutionizes nothing in the action genre but if I were to categorize it I’d say it could live in the same universe as Taken and the Bourne franchises. Penn does have a set of skills that he utilizes to get the job done, so there’s no problem with him joining Jason Bourne and Bryan Mills. Will we see Terrier in another mission? Who knows, but I wouldn’t mind.


The Gunman


Encoding: AVC/MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Clarity/Detail: The Gunman was shot via digital and it looks great. I never got a sense that I was watching a “shot 0n digital” picture, because as cool as it looked, it didn’t look cheap, jittery, or glossy. There’s ample grit and a nice sheen throughout.

Depth: Being shot all over the world – the Blu-ray does have some awesome cinematography that looks great in high definition. Yes, it’s not in 3-D but it sure looks three-dimensional.

Black Levels: There are several scenes throughout the film – taking place at night and those scenes looked great. Levels were deep and inky and I was happy.

Color Reproduction:

Flesh Tones: Everyone looked nice and healthy. Everyone carried over their tan no matter what country or continent they were in.

Noise/Artifacts: This Blu-ray was absent of noise, debris, dirt, hairs, and all other pesky artifacts.


The Gunman


Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos 7.1, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1/5.1. English Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, French

Dynamics: The Gunman sounds terrific on Blu-ray. You will feel every punch, beating, and shooting in multi-channel bliss. Of course you would – it’s in Dolby Atmos! Fear not, if you do not have Atmos it will default to the core Dolby TrueHD audio that matches your set-up.

Low Frequency Extension: Can you feel the rumble? That’s the rumble a giant .50 caliber weapon makes when it takes out a target a mile away. There are many instances where the subwoofer channel is put to work.

Surround Sound Presentation: The rear surround-field was extremely aggressive in that you could hear every subtle nuance back there. If someone was trying to creep in on our target you could literally hear the rustle of bushes or creaking floorboards. It also carried the whizzing of bullets rather well – from front to back and back to front.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue levels were crystal clear.

The Gunman


I was quite shocked to see that The Gunman has no special features whatsoever. Yes, there’s a DVD, and Digital HD copy of the film but where’s the beef? No, not Sean Penn. 😉

  • DVD
  • Digital HD UltraViolet


The Gunman


The Gunman, by all accounts was fairly entraining even of the ending resolution was cheesy as all hell. Sean Penn pulls off the role of “traditional” action star and the locations and supporting cast enhance the storyline. The Blu-ray has reference video and audio but drops the ball in the special features section. Give the Blu-ray a shot.





The Gunman is available on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD!






The Gunman


Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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