The Hitman’s Bodyguard

The Hitman’s Bodyguard signals its aspirations to become a summer blockbuster…

The Hitman’s Bodyguard and its witty posters of recreating the iconic Bodyguard Houston/ Costner embrace signals its aspirations to become a summer blockbuster; a modern-day reinterpretation of possibly Lethal Weapon franchise? It fails on all counts. This action comedy is littered with so many corny one liners and its flimsy, predictable plot full of an unnecessary fanfare of flashbacks, sub-plots and cheesy power ballads proves all too much for one viewing.

Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) is an elite bodyguard who is hired by Interpol to transport imprisoned hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) from his prison in Coventry to the International Courts of Justice at The Hague, to testify against Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman), the merciless dictator of Belarus. What follows is a haphazard journey of cars, vans, bikes and speedboat chases across Europe; including a good measure of the usual suspects of Russian mobs, secret service men and bitter love interests.

Reynolds plays Bryce very well. However, it feels like a we are watching a carbon copy of his Deadpool role, but much less amusing without the costume or any of the punchy gags. Jackson is equally good but also his mischievous, brutish, telling-it-like-is assassin is a much paler version of his previous exceptional efforts such as The Long Kiss Goodnight or Kill Bill. Then we have Salma Hayek’s character, Sonia Kincaid, who admittedly is entertaining as the brash and feisty jailbird wife of Darius but she blatantly seems to be serving time in full on drag make-up, wearing more of it than in any of her L’Oréal adverts. The calibre of celebrity of these three is distracting, coupled with the overfamiliarity of their roles, it is difficult to distinguish the actor from the character.

Then there is the issue with the dialogue. This trivial and supposedly humorous banter between Bryce and Darius is just excruciating. Throw in some pseudo existential sentimental talk about lessons in love, and it’s just so incredibly condescending and cringe-worthy that I found myself looking away, at points, from the screen as if I was watching a horror film. To top it all off, there is this recurrent use of cheesy pop ballads, mainly 80s ones, scattered throughout; perhaps to add some layer of knowingly kitsch comedic value but it just comes across as silly, not funny or cool.

The plot also treads on very familiar territory. You can sort of guess the outcome 10 minutes in and this combined with regular doses of unnecessary flashbacks to give character background is pointless and adds no depth to proceedings whatsoever. Director Patrick Hughes does manage to pull it off with some of the car chase scenes; specifically, the one set in Rotterdam where slick action packed shots are complemented by an impressive backdrop of canals, winding bridges and stony narrow roads. However, these few and far between visually stimulating moments hardly save the film.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard offers nothing new. The silly dialogue and samey plot attributes to the film’s generic nature; a glamourised version of a straight-to-DVD action movie. If it’s some mindless action entertainment you are after, which isn’t challenging to watch and you don’t mind a barrage of cheesy one-liners; this film is for you.

Daniel Theophanous

Updated: Aug 20, 2017

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