MOVIE REVIEW: The Hitman’s Bodyguard

Buddy road movie starring Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson.  Reynolds plays a triple A Executive bodyguard who has seen better times in his career after a high value client that he was protecting gets assassinated right in front of his eyes.  Samuel L. Jackson plays the worlds most dangerous assassin that has been captured and is striking a deal to get his wife released from prison.  Jackson is going to testify in the war crimes trial of obvious bad guy Gary Oldman.  Can Reynolds get Jackson to the court on time?

Can you transport your mind back to the late 80’s or the whole of the 90’s? Can you imagine the mass of buddy movies that were coming out at that time, from cop dramas like Lethal Weapon, to Comedy’s like Dumb and Dumber, it felt like you couldn’t go two weeks without seeing a buddy movie hitting you.  Some were great and some bad, as with everything that the film industry churns out, and we happily paid in to see the results.  If you can transport yourself to that time in your mind then that is great, as you’ll have to do that to get any enjoyment out of The Hitman’s Bodyguard.  It’s not a terrible film, and we’ll talk about that in the next few minutes, or however fast you can read, Gar don’t judge you, just movies.

The action of the film is top-notch action adventure and enjoyable, the fall from grace of Reynolds is funny to watch happen.  While Jackson’s struggle to get to the court lacks tension.  The film is too long by about 40 minutes and when you’re sitting in the dark realms of the cinema for two hours you can feel every minute of this film.  The script isn’t punchy enough nor actually funny enough for it to have the impact of the modern buddy film.  It’s a film that would have worked perfectly back in 1992 and we’d all gather around the VHS machine, fixed the tracking, and enjoyed it for years. 

The film feels like the cheap actioners that we’ve gotten over the last few years, funded by Asia, shot in Europe, and with enough big name stars given very little to do, just to give the film an impact.  I was expecting Jason Statham to turn up at some point.  But you sit there as Richard E. Grant and Gary Oldman have bugger all to do while offering their fame and name to the film.  Oldman plays the cardboard cut out villain that he can do in his sleep while you had hoped he was far beyond at this point.  It has disappointed me to the extreme.

Reynolds and Jackson get on okay, and while you sit there and wonder what could have been if someone with a clue had gotten their hands on this script before filming you also can’t help but get carried away with the few shocks and jokes along the way.  It’s not offensive, and the hard-core message that they try to do fails to live up the hype.  There are certainly enough moments to justify the price of a cinema ticket and on a rainy summer afternoon there are no films that I enjoy better in the multiplex than a trashy actioner that I don’t have to offer a brain cell to.

This left me wondering if I actually liked the film or not, it could be that I’m lost in the love of losing myself to the trashy entertainment and escaping reality.  The escapologist in me loved the film, and the critic in me wanted to tear it a new one, as it feels like something to keep the stars busy between the projects they care about, it’s a paycheck for them more than a caring project, they would have been heading out to do their Marvel duties after filming ended on this.  If you liked those buddy movies from the previous century then you’ll have enough to enjoy in this.

Director: Patrick Hughes
Writer: Tom O’Connor
Stars: Elodie Yung, Samuel L Jackson, Ryan ReynoldsTsuwayuki Saotome & More


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