Dir: Patrick Hughes
Writer: Tom O’Connor
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, Elodie Young, Salma Hayek
Runtime: 118 min
The Hitman’s Bodyguard is a dumb action movie, but fortunately, it’s a throwback to when dumb action movies could still be kind of fun and relied a lot more on star power than on good… well, anything.
Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) is a disgraced bodyguard who gets a shot at reviving his career and winning back the love of his life (Elodie Young) when he is tasked to protect international hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson). Kincaid is set to testify against brutal dictator Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman) in exchange for his wife Sonia (Salma Hayek)’s release from prison.
In the fine spirit of pretty much every buddy movie ever made, Bryce and Kincaid can’t stand one another until the third act when they’re suddenly close chums [spoilers]. Bryce is stickler for the rules and believes every problem can be solved if you prepare in advance, while Kincaid believes life is too unpredictable and just makes it up as he goes along.
Kincaid doesn’t seem to actually need Bryce’s protection most of the time. Despite spending the vast majority of the movie nursing a gunshot wound to the leg, the hitman kills the most bad guys by far, including the main villain [extra spoilers] and just generally seems to be doing alright no matter how dangerous the situation is. Bryce intervenes a couple of times, but honestly, he might as well have sat this one out.
I’m glad he didn’t though, because the pairing of Reynolds and Jackson is the only thing that makes The Hitman’s Bodyguard fun. The two work great together, with Kincaid’s boisterous personality constantly getting under Bryce’s skin. When they riff off one another, the movie is quite entertaining, even though they tend to reuse jokes and insults.
Speaking of insults, The Hitman’s Bodyguard is the kind of movie that considers swearing the height of both maturity and comedy. Sure, Samuel L. Jackson dropping ‘motherfucker’ as many times as he drops bad guys is par for the course, but Reynolds matches his swearing easily and Salma Hayek’s character has dialogue that is basically 90% cursing.
Gary Oldman dusts off his Russian accent to play a cookie-cutter bad guy and Elodie Young somehow plays a character that’s even more boring than Electra in The Defenders.
There a couple pretty jarring tonal shifts. Kincaid has two flashbacks that go into his backstory – one is about Salma Haeyk comically murdering a bunch of dudes in a bar while the camera ogles her breasts and ass, while the other is about how a racist scumbag brutally murdered Kincaid’s father, a black preacher. One of these things is not like the other.
The plot is stupid and predictable and the action scenes range from passable to pretty fun – the two big chase sequences are the highlight. It’s a Millennium Films action movie, so there’s some distractingly bad CGI and green screens at various points.
If you like either or both of the movie’s leads, then you’ll probably have a good time with The Hitman’s Bodyguard. Not a great or a particularly memorable time, but a good time nonetheless.