After a rather clever ad campaign for this film which poked fun at 1992’s The Bodyguard, I was rather excited to see what kind of magic they concocted for Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson in The Hitman’s Bodyguard. The trailers looked fun and it seemed like Reynolds and Jackson had enough chemistry to make this film work. So, when I bought my ticket, I was hoping for something that would at least be fast and funny, if nothing else. Wrong on both counts.
The film stars Reynolds as a “triple A” bodyguard who protects the rich, the famous and the powerful. After one of his clients is taken out in the first five minutes of the film, Michael Bryce (Reynolds) loses just about everything and it relegated to protecting the lowest of the low. Meanwhile, at the Hague in the Netherlands (a court that is responsible for the trial of crimes against humanity), Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman) is standing trial for his crimes against the people of Belarus (formerly, once part of Russia). The one witness that has not been killed by Vladislav is Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson), a hitman with “250 kills, easy”.
When an initial unit is sent to transport Kincaid to the court, it is taken out with the exception of Amelia Roussel (Elodie Yung), a young Interpol agent and former lover of Bryce. The two have parted ways but Bryce is the only one she trusts to get Kincaid to the court in order to testify against Dukhovich. Bryce and Kincaid have a very bad history together so needless to say, these two hate each other. So the two are chased across Europe by an endless array of assassins, while Bryce and Kincaid are at each other’s throats. Salma Hayek is thrown in as Kincaid’s wife, Sonia who is also in prison for helping her husband, I guess.
There is so much comic gold that can come from films like The Hitman’s Bodyguard provided you have the right script. You certainly have the star power with Reynolds and Jackson. What I saw was a relentlessly vulgar and unfunny mess of a film. There is not one moment of originality or joy in The Hitman’s Bodyguard. Samuel L. Jackson does his usual routine of playing Samuel L. Jackson and this is a routine that has become very tired. Reynolds is simply playing a variation of his Deadpool character with a little of Van Wilder thrown in. Incidentally, Deadpool and Van Wilder are both better than anything you will see in The Hitman’s Bodyguard.
Tom O’Connor’s script is a witless, asinine and sophomoric retread of countless other action-buddy films most of which are better than The Hitman’s Bodyguard. The one film this is trying to be is Lethal Weapon and The Hitman’s Bodyguard is not even in the same solar system as Lethal Weapon. The direction by Patrick Hughes is rather sluggish and the action is routine. Gary Oldman is largely wasted as Dukhovich who is as generic a bad guy as you can get. He literally is given nothing to do. About the only good things I can say about this film is the lovely Elodie Yung who escapes with her dignity in tact and Alti Orvarsson’s score which is rather fun.
The Hitman’s Bodyguard was such a disappointment for me, anyway and I really was looking forward to this film. It is a coarse and obnoxious film filled to the brim with cliches and is as predictable as they come. People will tell me that I missed the point of the film and what not. But you can have a film that might be routine and still make it fresh and exciting. Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver proved that a month ago. THAT film was fresh, fun and exciting. This, simply put, is assembly-line filmmaking that Hollywood seems to be churning out these days. The Hitman’s Bodyguard is a lazy attempt at an 80’s action picture and is not worth your hard-earned dollars.
The Hitman’s Bodyguard – *1/2 out of 5
The Hitman’s Bodyguard – Rated R for language, graphic violence and gore
The Hitman’s Bodyguard – Run Time is 120 minutes
If you still are interested in seeing this film, The Hitman’s Bodyguard is now playing theaters. Check your local listings for times and locations.