The Hitman's Bodyguard Review
Hitman Darius Kincaid kills the bad guys and bodyguard Michael Byrce protects them but which one is the good guy?
The buddy movie makes a comeback with The Hitman’s Bodyguard and does its best to deliver arguing opposites, car chases, gun fights and wisecracking humour along the way.Former ‘Triple A’ bodyguard Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) is forced to protect a hitman and deliver him safely to the International Court of Justice in the Hague. Bryce was once a bodyguard who ensured all his T’s were crossed and his I’s were dotted, meaning he played everything by the book. Bryce prided himself on the fact he had never taken a bullet because he always had every base covered. So when something unfortunate happens, Bryce is forced to take on lower profile cases but he completes them with almost the same amount of gusto, never compromising on the results. Then Bryce gets a phone call from former girlfriend and Interpol agent Amelia Roussel (Elodie Yung) asking for his help.She needs to get renowned hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) from Coventry to The Hague, where he is a key witness in a war crimes trial. Bryce reluctantly accepts on the proviso his former status as a 'Triple-A' bodyguard is reinstated. Once at The Hague Kincaid will be testifying against the president of Belarus, Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman) - a genocidal tyrant with plenty of militia tucked up his sleeve ready to do all they can to stop Kincaid setting foot in the courtroom. The reason behind Kincaid’s cooperation is made clear later and with just 27 hours to get Kincaid to the Netherlands, Bryce does all he can to keep him alive despite, on more than one occasion, wanting to put a bullet in him himself.
Directed by Patrick Hughes and written by Tom O’Connor The Hitman’s Bodyguard is a simple, if at times, predictable action movie that lives up to expectations and doesn’t try to be anything it’s not. The action sequences are fairly entertaining ranging from a shootout scene down a small road in Coventry to a chase scene along the canals in Amsterdam with Jackson commandeering a speedboat and Reynolds speeding alongside on a motorbike culminating with a big blowout sequence at the finale. The body count is endless and Hughes doesn’t hold back too much when it comes to the blood and violence, or the cursing for that matter. In places it does feel a little bit heavy on the trying to get laughs front, but even so, there are a few genuine laugh-out-loud moments.
Credit where credit is due, O’Connor has crafted a script to suit the likes of Reynolds and Jackson perfectly - and the two of them have decent enough chemistry and energy on screen to pull it off. The script plays on the differences between the two main characters and even though ultimately you know how it will end up, it still manages to be engaging. Some films that are hugely predictable wind up being boring and extremely underwhelming in the first 15 minutes, but here there are enough narrative strands that thankfully manage to keep it from reaching that point. Even though the music used throughout is, at times, a bit cheesy – from Lionel Richie’s ‘Hello’ to the Spiderbait cover of 'Black Betty' - it suits the action and keeps the fun element going.
Ryan Reynolds brings to life what could have ended up a flat and lifeless movie
Reynolds is on top form as Bryce and fans of Reynolds’s dry and sarcastic quips will not be disappointed (one stand out scene for me was his version of Ace of Base’s ‘The Sign’ - but that’s just me). I’ve been a fan of Reynolds since Two Guys, A Girl and a Pizza Place and it’s fair to say he hasn’t lost any of the charm that he had back then. Jackson is also on good form, and plays a familiar character who flexes his moral compass and debates on good versus evil. There are occasional instances where some of the dialogue does feel a bit forced, although with others it seems completely comfortable and natural. Personally I think the problem is when O’Connor and Hughes try to drag certain jokes out for just that bit too long. Salma Hayek provides some solid support and is pretty badass when she’s on screen but sadly her screen time is limited.
The Hitman’s Bodyguard works with a simple formula that has been used many times before, and while it might not stand a chance next to some of the classic buddy movies of the past, it’s tries its best to be a fairly decent contender. If you’re looking for something a bit deeper then give this a wide birth but if you don’t mind a few predictable story lines combined with some decent fight scenes and action sequences as well as the reliable Reynolds humour then give this a go.
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