“The Hitman’s Bodyguard” is a new action-comedy starring Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, and featuring Salma Hayek and Gary Oldman.
Review by Jackie Ruth
Reynolds plays Michael Bryce, a Triple-A rated executive protection agent, otherwise known as a highly-skilled and highly paid bodyguard. After an unexpected series of events leading to his professional and personal downfall, Bryce is put in charge of one of the most prolific hitmen in the world, Darius Kincaid (Jackson), who was in the care of Interpol until a mole in the organization led to disaster.
The audience is not left wondering who the mole is for long, as it is revealed when the person speaks with the villain, Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman). Dukhovich is on trial at the International Court of Justice in The Netherlands for his war crimes as a dictator in Belarus. Bryce’s mission is to get Kincaid from the UK to The Netherlands safely so that Kincaid can be a witness for the prosecution. This task is harder than it sounds, because Dukhovich has a number of henchman set on tracking them down and taking out Kincaid.
It’s no surprise that director Patrick Hughes has an absurdist action movie pedigree, having previously directed “The Expendables 3.” Though the trailer for “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” leans on the humor, the film itself is incredibly action-oriented. Sometimes this is to its advantage, like creative fight scenes in which characters use the tools in a kitchen setting and in a hardware store. In other scenes, it’s more predictable and detrimental, as it is with a car chase scene that goes on a few minutes too long (but does take great advantage of urban European waterways).
Also unsurprising is the chemistry and repartee between Reynolds and Jackson. While Reynolds mostly plays the straight man in this film, he does deadpan plenty of lines and even has a monologue aimed at a bartender late in the movie. Jackson plays his role more loosely, as is befitting to his character, and has more laugh-out-loud moments throughout the film. Their exchanges aren’t quite comparable to other buddy cop pairings like Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell in “The Other Guys,” but the trope of them disliking each other’s company is believable, and their efforts to survive and keep each other going are fun to watch.
Salma Hayek doesn’t get as much screen time as she deserves, and her character only has two dimensions: sexy and violent. What she does get, though, she plays well, as Kincaid’s falsely imprisoned wife waiting out her sentence in Amsterdam. She has a naturally commanding presence and is often the only person in her scenes really leading the action
While “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” is not a formulaic film, it is on the predictable side. If you’re looking for an action comedy in the vein of “The Other Guys,” “21 Jump Street,” or “The Nice Guys,” then this movie will fit the bill. It is heavy on the language – of course Samuel L. Jackson has his signature word choice – but it is also surprisingly gory. Those who are sensitive to blood and/or loud noises should avoid this film, as it has plenty of both.
“The Hitman’s Bodyguard” is in theaters now. Have you seen it? Let us know what you thought of the film by leaving a comment!
Originally hailing from Pennsylvania, Jackie has called Austin home since choosing to attend the University of Texas, where she graduated with a degree in multimedia journalism. She loves spending time with her dog, writing about pop culture in all its forms and spending time with friends – eating, drinking and doing trivia. You can follow Jackie on Twitter and Instagram.