The Hitman's Bodyguard

Jacob Richardson | 22/08/2017

Not as funny as it wants to be, The Hitman’s Bodyguard is an overly long but ultimately fun film.

Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) used to be a AAA-rated executive protection agent. Alas, when a Japanese arms dealer he was hired to protect is assassinated, he finds himself down on his luck, relegated to protecting coked-up attorneys. When his ex-girlfriend, Interpol agent Amelia Roussel (Elodie Young) finds herself in a spot of bother transporting renowned hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) to the Hague to testify against brutal dictator Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman), Bryce is called in to help out. Little does Roussel know, he and Kincaid have a rocky history.


Directed by Patrick Hughes (Expendables 3), The Hitman’s Bodyguard has all the trappings of a rip-roaring buddy cop action film (aside from the cops of course). With two polar opposite leading men, a number of explosive set pieces and witty banter thrown about like it’s going out of fashion, you would expect it to be one for the ages. Alas, Hughes’ film never really hits its stride.


The action set pieces too often veer towards the slow paced, with some car chases losing a lot of their potence. This is particularly worrisome for a film with so many of them. The Hitman’s Bodyguard has more car chases than a film pistol has bullets, and by the end of the film they drag interminably.


Ryan Reynolds gives his usual schtick, and often it plays off well with Samuel L. Jackson’s incredibly enthusiastic performance. The problem is that some of the dialogue is so poor that even these two actors pull them off - there isn't enough biting sarcasm or boundless enthusiasm in the world.


Luckily, there is enough to enjoy about the film anyway. A number of the jokes land really well. Salma Hayek, as Kincaid’s wife, is incredible - a beautiful, foul-mouthed and hilarious character who anchors one of the best scenes in the film (a bar fight meet-cute between Hayek and Jackson). If the plot is derivative, it is somewhat made up for by the interplay between the leads and the utterly improbable cavalcade of near miss life-ending incidents Reynolds and Jackson are put through. It’s not great, but it’s fun.


Not particularly amazing, and in some sense a bit of a waste of the two leads talents, The Hitman’s Bodyguard is nevertheless an enjoyable way to spend 2 hours.