The Hitman’s Bodyguard
Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Salma Hayek, Elodie Yung, Gary Oldman
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…we’re never more than a few minutes away from a quip or a kill.
Top notch executive security expert Michael Bryce’s (Ryan Reynolds) career goes south when one of his high powered clients takes a bullet to the head on his watch. Two years down the track he gets a chance for redemption when his ex, Interpol agent Amelia Roussel (Elodie Yung) charges him with escorting a witness against dictator Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman) from London to the Hague. That witness happens to be Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson), world class hitman, nemesis to, and unwitting architect of all his career woes. Naturally, a horde of henchmen want to prevent Darius from testifying, and the race is on.
If “Midnight Run with Sam motherfucking Jackson and Van Wilder” appeals, then you are gonna have a good time with The Hitman’s Bodyguard. It’s a brisk, glib, winkingly crass buddy action comedy, in which everyone plays to type, and everyone clearly has a good time. Australian director Patrick Hughes (Red Hill, The Expendables 3) keeps things ticking over nicely, and we’re never more than a few minutes away from a quip or a kill.
Yes, in terms of plot it’s pretty by-the-numbers, as our two bickering mutual nemeses bond over the course of their adventure, but there’s a surprising and pleasing amount of heart in the mix as well. Bryce’s desire to mend his relationship with Amelia is rather rote – although they do make an aesthetically appealing pair, let’s not dissemble – but then you get Salma Hayek as Darius’s wife, currently banged up in a Dutch prison and the reason he’s turning witness against Oldman’s cartoonish villain. Even if the rest of the film was an absolute garbage fire, their meet-cute is worth the price of admission alone.
The Hitman’s Bodyguard is not flawless, of course. You could chop out 20 minutes without losing a thing and the action – well executed by Hughes and company for the most part – is occasionally marred by subpar CGI and the odd glaringly obvious stunt double. Don’t let that dissuade you from checking it out, though. If your thing is watching Jackson and Reynolds do their thing while cars explode and bullets fly, this is the thing for you.