Hot Take: The ’90s called and asked for their action comedy back. If you enjoy Samuel L. Jackson or Ryan Reynolds, it’s likely you’ll hang up on that call and enjoy the cross country ride.
Here’s the best piece of advice I can give you if you’re heading out to see The Hitman’s Bodyguard: Don’t think too hard! This is summer popcorn action comedy at its most summerish. If you’re going to dissect the ridiculous plot or the over-the-top action or count the amount of times Samuel L. Jackson says, “Mutha fucker!” then you should steer clear of this one. Heck, if you want to think, there’s a few documentaries in wide release that’ll soothe that part of your brain. However, considering we’ve just spent the last two weeks on the brink of nuclear war with North Korea (okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but still!), watching the President treat his group of advisors like he did the cast of Celebrity Apprentice and, oh yeah almost forgot, had that same President equate Neo-Nazism to being just as bad as counterprotesting racism, turning off your brain might not be the worst thing to do here.
In The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Ryan Reynolds plays Michael Bryce, a down on his luck bodyguard-for-hire who apparently had a AAA-rated protection agency (Whatever that means!) until one of his high profile clients was assassinated. He’s called in to protect Samuel L. Jackson’s Darius Kincaid, an assassin with over 250 kills who is being protected by Interpol to testify against Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman) who is a Putin-esque villain. When Interpol is compromised and Kincaid is no longer safe to travel with them, Bryce’s ex-girlfriend Amelia Roussel (Elodie Yung), an Interpol agent, calls on Bryce to help her get Jackson to the trial. Of course, there’s some ridiculous time frame and they have to travel across the European countryside to get there being bombarded with disposable bad guys along the way and lots of senseless violence and explosions wrap around the quips, one liners and arguing between Reynolds and Jackson.
There’s also a funny sub-plot featuring Salma Hayek as Jackson’s wife Sonia who is wrongfully imprisoned in a prison in Amsterdam which is why Jackson’s character is willing to help Interpol get Dukhovich in exchange for his wife’s freedom. Hayek’s foul mouthed, profanity laced tirades for whatever silly reason the writer felt like writing are quite entertaining and Hayek is hilarious in the role.
The Hitman’s Bodyguard isn’t a great film. It might not even be a good one. But with Reynolds and Jackson fully invested, there’s plenty of entertaining moments throughout the movie. The action is silly, the plot implausible and predictable and a body count that might make Rambo blush but Reynolds and Jackson are great together in a proven formula that has worked previously (Think Midnight Run if Charles Grodin’s character was actually an assassin and not an accountant).
Don’t be surprised to see critics split on this one. Many can’t accept that a subpar plot and storyline can be overcome by spunky performers who have enough fun on screen to win over the audience. That’s exactly what The Hitman’s Bodyguard is: A mediocre action comedy with enough fan service for Reynolds and Jackson aficionados that the bar is raised for the overall product to just above mediocre. It’s a fun trip to the theater. Can you accept that mutha fucker?
“Spoiler Free” Pros
Hayek has a pretty extensive career at this point but some of her most memorable roles are small, supporting ones. The first one that comes to mind is her small part in From Dusk Til Dawn but her role in The Hitman’s Bodyguard won’t be one I forget any time soon… and she doesn’t take off any clothes in this one.
- For A Good Time Call…
The Hitman’s Bodyguard will probably not even get a mention during the MTV Movie Awards but it’s a fun trip to the movies and that’s exactly what August usually asks for from its movies.
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- Okay, So Maybe It’s a Little Long
I know this is a frequent complaint of mine when it comes to movies but at just 2 minutes short of 2 hours, there’s nothing in the plot that calls for this film to be dragged out to such a length. Unless, of course, they were going for some sort of profanity record and needed the extra time to get in a few more F bombs. I guess that’s always possible.