Watch Sean Penn Go Rambo in His First Action Movie, 'The Gunman' (Exclusive Trailer)

Sean Penn can do just about anything on screen — and that includes playing an impressively nimble former Special Forces op, as you can see above in the exclusive action-packed first trailer for The Gunman.

While you wouldn’t know it by the 54-year-old Oscar winner’s expert gun and machete moves, The Gunman marks the very first action movie in Penn’s 40-year career.

Seeing how he dispatches the bad guys with ease, it’s surprising Penn hasn’t taken on the genre before. Still, the Mystic River and Milk actor doesn’t consider himself a typical hero. “Calling it an ‘action film’ is kind of like calling Meryl Streep a sexy blond chick,” he told USA Today over the summer when he was shooting the film in Europe. “She is. But that really doesn’t tell the story of what she is at all.

"I don’t separate this in my mind from anything else I have done. It’s a very human story that deals with the same things exploited in action films, like warfare."

Sean Penn in The Gunman
Sean Penn in The Gunman

In The Gunman, Penn plays Jim Terrier, who has taken up non-violent work in the Congo to distance himself from his vicious past. He gets pulled back in, though, when his ladylove (played by Jasmine Trinca) gets in trouble. The film also stars Javier Bardem, Idris Elba, and Ray Winstone.

Penn appears in top physical shape for the role, but, again, he doesn’t really want to go there, abstaining from discussing the diet and exercise prep he did for the role: “I find anatomical discussions much more interesting when centered on the female form,” he told USA Today. "I’ll leave it at that.”

The Gunman, directed by Pierre Morel (The Transporter, Taken), storms theaters March 20.

Photo: Open Road Films