The world’s top bodyguard gets a new client, a hit man who must testify at the International Court of Justice. They must put their differences aside and work together to make it to the trial on time.
Director Patrick Hughes continues to show his affinity for movie styles of the past (having directed The Expendables 3) with his new film The Hitman’s Bodyguard, which throws together Ryan Reynolds and Samuel Jackson in this buddy cop type team up flick but with a little less of the buddy and none of the cop.
The Hitman’s Bodyguard tells a generic tale of a villain being placed on trial with no hope of successful prosecution without a reliable witness who can back up their claims with hard evidence. Enter Reynolds and Jackson, a hitman and a bodyguard carrying the burden of getting to that trial to ensure that Gary Oldman’s Vladislav Dukhovich is delivered his dues.
Audiences don’t need a keen eye or any great attention to detail in order to instantly spot the double agents, let alone any significant events or dialogue in act 1 that’s going to be revisited in act 3, it’s all very obvious and very familiar, but at the same time this film is a lot of fun. With the central narrative defined there’s an obligatory romantic subplot shoe horned in for good measure, but these two leads are a joy to watch on screen.
Neither of them do anything new, Reynolds bring his dialogue driven sarcastic comedy as well as his onscreen charisma, and Jackson matches him with coarse comedy, dropping f-bombs in every second piece of dialogue and their onscreen chemistry becomes the core of the film, carrying it for the full two hour run time. This isn’t to say the film doesn’t overstay it’s welcome, as it could have used a little more focus in the editing room as all the loose ends take a little long to wrap up, but while these two leads are on screen together it’s always engaging, and always entertaining.
Early on, the film is a little unbalanced tonally in finding its niche somewhere between the harder than usual violence (hence an MA rating) and its comedic sensibilities, but it quickly finds its feet and delivers something that was more common in the 80’s and early 90’s, and isn’t commonplace today.
So with its drab plot and great leads the other area where this film manages to shine is with its dynamic action sequences. There’s rarely a quiet moment in this film and without any compelling drama or developed characters intercutting action with its lead performances is the ideal way to go. Hughes has crafted a number of attention grabbing sequences including car chases, gun fights and street brawls which are all over the top but are craftily edited together and deliver in both an action and comedic sense.
The Hitman’s Bodyguard isn’t likely to leave a lasting impression or hold up for multiple screenings, but it is a fun time at the movies and for the most part earns its place. On that basis it’s easy to recommend, just don’t go along hoping for much of a story.
I’m giving it 6.5 out of 10 stars, you can see The Hitman’s Bodyguard in cinemas from 31 August 2017.