'The Hitman's Bodyguard': Nobody, not even Samuel L. Jackson, can save a movie doomed for failure

By Tanmay Shukla

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews

Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson's latest action-comedy The Hitman's Bodyguard is a forgettable flick which neither qualifies as a decent action film nor as an entertaining comedy with its sparse punches spread across a two hour perpetual borefest. Not that it isn't funny; the banter between Ryan Reynolds and Samuel Jackson is fun, Salma Hayek playing the latter’s incarcerated wife, Sonia, unleashes cracking diatribes and there is a graphic slo-mo action scene where she is knocking men down with her violent combat while her to-be-husband, Darius Kincaid (Samuel Jackson) is standing still simply admiring the action, beguiled by her ferocious beauty.

The premise is interesting. Ryan Reynolds as Michael Bryce, a triple A rated security agent who has lost all his credibility after his client Mr. Kurosava, a Japanese big shot, is shot dead out of nowhere. Amelia Roussel, an interpol agent, and Bryce's ex, is in charge to chaperone hitman Darius to the International Court of Justice at Hague to testify. He is the last witness left, in a trail against Belarus's despot Vladislav Dukhovich, for he has committed crimes against humanity. On the way to Hague, Dukhovich's men surround the convoy in an attempt to kill the last witness but the 'unkillable' Darius gets away and flees off with Roussel. Now that Roussel has to get help from an outsider, she trusts Bryce to finish the task while she reports back to the interpol. Bryce agrees when Roussel promises him that she will get him back at the top if he accepts. Then the two contrasting men, Bryce who always plays 'safe' and Kincaid who is an old-school hands-on badass, embark on their difficult journey to Hague.

This curious story is peppered with repetitive action sequences which feel incongruously forced in the plot. The Hitman's Bodyguard is an action driven film surprisingly yet it's the characters that make the film endurable. Samuel Jacksom steals the show by a typically characteristic role which we are all used to seeing him do but can we ever get enough of his 'motherf***er'? Ryan Reynolds supported him well by another typical character of his. Basically, The Hitman's Bodyguard is devoid of any freshness but the leading stars' good performance is just enough to sit through the mess they are surrounded with.

The Hitman's Bodyguard could have been easier to take had it not run for two hours. It was banking on its two leads which were far from disappointing but the action scenes surely were and the film never seemed to take off. Gary Oldman's powerful character was badly handled by the writer Tom O'Connor who kept shuffling between action and comedy but failed to make any of the two engaging. The nauseating graphic violence in an otherwise light movie was not a failed experiment but a glaring consequence of the contradictory mood and tone terribly done for short lived gags and thrills.

Charlize Therone's Atomic Blonde, a recent action film, was far better in terms of its action sequences, visuals, music and the whole mood and pace. The Hitman's Bodyguard would have been a far better film had it just stick to a tightly narrated comedy with only necessary action in between. Samuel L. Jackson together with Ryan Reynolds and Salma Hayek could have actually saved it had the director Patrick Hughes done away with all those boring chases and unnecessary action in order to keep it under 90 minutes, the sweet spot for such films.

The Hitman's Bodyguard isn't poorly executed; the problem is how it is conceived. Watch it if you are a fan of the leads and not of the genre. 

Rating: 5/10  

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