Movie Review: The Hitman’s Bodyguard
While Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson make a solid team, anyone expecting Deadpool levels of fun and camp might want to pass on this contract.
Sometimes a movie oversells its premise. Other times its trailers can be misleading. Then there are times when every aspect of a movie’s promotion is an outright lie. I thought The Hitman’s Bodyguard was perfectly acceptable, for what it was. What it wasn’t, however, was the movie that Lionsgate sold us. And I’m tired of that monkey-fighting snake-job on this Monday-to-Friday plane (of existence)!
The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017)
Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) is an elite private security provider. Working for the crème de la crème, Bryce enjoys all the finer things in life. His company has a sterling record, and Bryce is meticulous to the point of being OCD. “Boring is best” is his company’s motto. Things cease to be boring, however, when a job transporting a high-value Japanese client ends in disaster. Bryce’s company takes a massive hit, loses its elite status, and Michael must now hump penny-ante jobs protecting coked-up mob snitches.
In another part of the world, things are going just as poorly for Darius Kincaid. A contract killer by trade, Kincaid faces multiple life sentences after himself and his wife Sonia(Salma Hayek) get busted. Luckily for him, he has information on the dictator of Belarus, Vladislov Dukhovich (Gary Oldman), who happens to be on trial for crimes against humanity. Unluckily for him, any witness for the prosecution has ended up very much dead. Still, Kincaid would go through hell for his wife, so he takes a deal.
When the Interpol protection for Kincaid gets wiped out by Dukhovich’s elite troops, officer Amelia Roussel (Elodie Yung) absconds with Kincaid and calls in the cavalry: her ex-boyfriend Michael Bryce. It is up to Bryce to transport Kincaid to the International Court of Justice (seriously? sounds like someplace Batman would set up; Aquaman would totally be the bailiff) in one piece. Piece of cake.
This movie is perfectly entertaining as mindless popcorn fare. The plot moves briskly, and all the actors have good to excellent chemistry (with Reynolds and Jackson being excellent together). The action is varied, and the camera-work for the action pieces is similarly varied. You get first person chases like Hardcore Henry. There’s long tracking shot scenes in some of the car and boat chases. There’s even some shaky cam work in the tight corridor fights. All of it works well, because none of it is overused. Reynolds and Jackson are old hands at being one man wrecking crews, so the body-count is enjoyably high.
This movie is a bog standard frenemy action flick. Think Lethal Weapon (no, not the shitty TV reboot, *shudder*). It feels like the 80’s all over again. Except for the language. I am no Will Smith, and I’d cuss on my rap albums like a mofo, but The Hitman’s Bodyguard is just filthy. Every single person in this film should have their mouths washed out with soap. Especially Salma Hayek, whose character is just a paper-thin, clichéd Chicana cuss machine. She’s completely wasted in this movie.
As such, I can’t recommend this as a full-price theatre movie. Hell, I waited for my MoviePass to finally arrive, so I could see it for free. This movie is solidly a RedBox affair.
Nothing in this movie is all that new, but at least it’s new in a way that hasn’t been done since the 80’s. Sure, Jackie Chan pretty much revived the frenemy movie in the early 2000’s, but that felt different because it was so PG. R-Rated is back, thanks to Deadpool. Which this movie is assuredly not.
The Hitman’s Bodyguard was sold as being very much a campy yet violent movie, with tons of banter and possibly some fourth wall breaking. The first poster took all the piss out of Kevin Costner’s The Bodyguard. You know, like Deadpool, or Snakes on a Plane. Instead of those performances, we get more of the usual: Reynolds is constant sarcasm and rebuttals; Jackson is his charming DGAF persona from, well, everything he’s been. It’s not terrible, but it is stale. And we were hyped up on something a little less by the numbers.
The Hitman’s Bodyguard is too old for this shit!
The Hitman’s Bodyguard isn’t a waste of time, but it is kind of a waste. It could have been sublime, but instead stayed way too safe. It’s too bad that Jackson’s Nick Fury can’t show up in the Deadpool Universe, as I’d pay to watch that team-up. Maybe trade Marvel The Fantastic Four in return for Fury, Fox? The action was good, but nothing new. The comedy was mostly toilet humor and dirty jokes. The only really good comedy were two flash-backs and the final scene at the end, which I must admit made me laugh out loud.
And that’s the movie in a nutshell. A few laughs, a few thrills, but nothing super note-worthy. Maybe next time (if there is a next time), director Patrick Hughes could be a little more daring. Until then, I think I’ll take my bodyguards a little less like Michael Bryce, and a little more like Enrico Palazzo.