Hollywood’s two biggest smart-alecks, Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds, join forces in the new action-comedy film, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, a throwback of sorts to the cold-war action flicks of the eighties, but with a lot more “mother-f—ers!”
Directed by Patrick Hughes (The Expendables 3) with a script by Tom O’Connor (that, rumor has it, was hastily re-written to be more comedic), this is a mostly satisfying and fun film has some huge laughs and, surprisingly, even a little bit of heart.
That said the narrative also mixes fictional war crimes and terrorism with the humor in the film in a very strange way that left me wondering if I should be laughing at what’s happening in the foreground while genocide is being used as a plot device in the background. #Awkward
Ryan Reynolds plays Michael Bryce (who is, basically, just Ryan Reynolds), a washed up bodyguard who is called back into high-profile action by his Interpol agent former-girlfriend, Amelia (Elodie Yung, whom you’ll recognize as Elektra from the Netflix Daredevil series.)
Bryce is tasked with watching over Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson), a hitman who is set to testify against Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman), a cold-war styled dictator responsible for all that evil nastiness I mentioned earlier.
The plot is really so simple-minded that a 5 year-old, whose grandpa babysat him while playing an old Chuck Norris film on the VCR, could have written it. It starts out very bad, but hang in there because in the second act, when Reynolds and Jackson hit full stride, this movie turns into a very fun and funny buddy picture.
The cast also includes Salma Hayek as Darius’ better-half, Sonia Kincaid, who, maybe, even out-Jacksons Sam when it comes to “talking the talk.” The flashback showing how the two characters met is hilarious.
The Hitman’s Bodyguard was filmed in London, Amsterdam and Bulgaria, and if you check the names on the end credits you’ll see there was a huge Bulgarian crew presence on this film. Not that that means anything – just an observation.
Like the plot, the action in this film is rather run-of-the-mill. You’ve seen this stuff a thousand times before. It’s the interaction between its stars that makes this movie worth seeing. With a better written plot, this really could have been something special. As is, it’s fun, but doesn’t always hit its mark. Grade: 6/10
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