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The Gunman | DVD review - Sean Penn shows off his muscles and his social conscience in globetrotting thriller

SEAN PENN as Jim Terrier in THE GUNMAN

Sean Penn’s ex-mercenary turned do-gooder proves to be in lethally good nick when his past catches up with him in globetrotting action thriller The Gunman (opens in new tab). The remarkably buff Penn shows off his social conscience as well as his muscles (shirtless, his forearms look as brawny as Popeye’s), but the action sequences are always more persuasive than the soul searching — a blistering shootout in a Spanish villa also involving ex-girlfriend Justine Trinca and ex-partner-in-crime Javier Bardem being a case in point. The script – co-written by Penn – spoils things a bit by falling back on tired clichés, particularly at the climax, which heavy-handedly intercuts the gory action in a Barcelona bullfight with Penn’s final showdown with the bad guys.

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Certificate 15. Runtime 115 mins. Director Pierre Morel.

The Gunman is available on EST, Blu-Ray and DVD and Limited Edition Steelbook from StudioCanal. http://youtube.com/v/Ug9xufczPVE

A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.