One of the later sequences in this heavily armed action flick takes place in a bullfighting ring. Yes, we're now in Spain. No kidding.
But it's almost like the rest of this movie is downwind of that locale.
Because while you'd think a movie with such a ballistic name and such a grunty, manly cast would would smell of cordite, burning rubber, cigarettes and whiskey, the dominant tang in the air is pure bullshit.
That's something you can't blame on los toros de Barcelona. The stink comes from a movie that gathers an impressive cast - included a muscled-up Sean Penn in his first popcorn movie role in years - and then sticks them in a confused clumsy conspiracy thriller.
It's one that attempts to say something about Western intervention in Africa, private military companies, the toll violence takes on its perpetrators.
It's one that attempts to make its lead character interesting by giving him not just a sense of guilt - we meet Penn's Jim Terrier an ex-military hotshot providing security to an aid organisation in the Congo shortly before he's tasked with assassinating the country's minister of mining - but with a debilitating brain condition that means every firefight is literally doing his head in.
It's directed by Pierre Morel, who started the geri-action genre with Liam Neeson in Taken. This one's both more complex and stupider and barely exciting, even when it's hailing bullets.
Having escaped the country after the assassination, years later, he returns to the Congo to work for a NGO and appease his conscience (as you do when you're a merciless mercenary).
No sooner has he dug a few wells than he's fighting for his life.
Terrier is soon off on a jetset tour of London, Barcelona and Gibraltar to look up old comrades (including Winstone's grizzled veteran), arouse the interest of Interpol (Idris Elba getting not a lot to do) rescue his former girlfriend Annie once or twice (Italian actress Jasmine Trinca, leaving little trace on proceedings) and suffer the occasional dizzy spell when the action gets too frenetic.
Penn works hard to make his guy believable. Even if his character is less then chivalrous (he grabs the only bullet-proof vest available when he and Annie are under fire) and can't but help stand out in a crowd (carrying a camo pattern backpack and wearing sniper shades in a large European city just might give it away you're a hunted mercenary).
And as it limps its way to that bullfighting ring, The Gunman becomes more and more aimless. While Penn's increasingly pained just-shoot-me expression might well induce some sympathy in those brave or foolhardy enough to stick this out to the end.
Cast: Sean Penn, Javier Bardem, Ray Winstone Mark Rylance, Idris Elba
Director: Pierre Morel
Rating: R16 (Graphic violence and offensive language)
Running time: 115 minutes
Verdict: Way off target