Whenever I go into a movie, I always want to judge it on it’s own merits and judge it by what I think the creators wanted it to be. For instance, take a film that’s clearly Oscar bait like Hidden Figures or La La Land from last year. The talent involved and the caliber of film-making that went into those two films, is clearly aimed at winning at least one of those little gold statues, so when I watch those types of movies, I like to go into it judging it on it’s worthiness of winning some statuary. On the other side, when I go into a superhero film, I don’t hold it to the same set of standards that I do movies that reek of Oscar bait. Instead, I ask did I get out of it what I wanted to get out of a superhero movie featuring that particular character. For the movie we’re discussing today, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, the new action comedy starring Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds, I wanted to laugh at the comedy and marvel at the action. And I think I got most of what I wanted. Let’s dig into it!
The Hitman’s Bodyguard follows Michael Bryce (Reynolds), a disgraced protection agent, as he is tasked with protecting Darius Kincaid (Jackson), a contract killer who is the star witness against Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman), the ruthless dictator of Belarus. The only problem is that Bryce and Kincaid absolutely hate each other and Dukhovich wants Kincaid dead at any cost. What follows is a violent and hilarious, and sometimes surprisingly heartfelt, romp through Europe as Bryce attempts to get Kincaid to the Hague for the trial.
Reynolds and Jackson have all the chemistry you would ever expect these two to have. They play off of each other beautifully with each man staying true to their own particular brand of comedy. Jackson with his profanity laden, over the top yelling, complete with signature laugh and Reynolds with his dry as a desert delivery, dripping with sarcasm. I have to say that, for me at least, it went together like chocolate and peanut butter. Also, when I say profanity laden, I fucking mean it. This movie drops the F-bomb so many times that it even becomes it’s own joke within the movie. Not many movies can pull that off.
Also starring in The Hitman’s Bodyguard, are Salma Hayek and Elodie Yung. Earlier this year, I went to see another Salma Hayek movie in Beatriz at Dinner, where she plays a soft, spiritual woman who just wants to heal people. Hayek’s role in The Hitman’s Bodyguard is a complete 180-turn from that and it is fantastic. Hayek doesn’t get a whole lot to do in this movie but when she is on screen she is electric and just as funny as Jackson and Reynolds, and just as foul mouthed. I loved it. Elodie Yung being in this movie was a nice surprise for me. If you don’t recognize that name, she plays Elektra Natchios in Netflix’s Daredevil and The Defenders. I really enjoy her portrayla of Elektra in those two shows and enjoyed seeing her in The Hitman’s Bodyguard. She plays a much more serious role than most of the rest of the main cast but that’s fine, comedy will always need a straight man to play the laughs off of (coughcoughGhostbustersrebootcoughcough).
Action wise, The Hitman’s Bodyguard brings a good balance of believability and realism but it also knows that it’s not supposed to take itself too seriously and doesn’t ever get so real that it kills the comedy. On the flip side, it never truly breaks my suspension of disbelief and stretches itself into goofiness. It’s not John Wick but it never pushes itself into The Fate of the Furious territory.
As for the plot, it’s honestly a little paint by numbers but also honestly? I don’t care. The chemistry of the two leads, bolstered by great action and a solid supporting cast make up for an unsurprising story and plot resolution. All this movie needed to do plot wise, was give the leads enough story to drive their relationship forward and move the movie along and it did just that. No complaints from me.
I do have a couple small complaints though. I feel like Gary Oldman’s Dukhovich was a bit underutilized in the final product and the role under-serves Oldman’s acting prowess a bit. Whenever Dukhovich is on screen, he just exudes evil and intimidation which was fantastic but we didn’t get to see enough of that, in my opinion at least. Oldman is a titan of an actor and this movie could have done more to showcase that. I also think that this film could have been maybe 15ish minutes shorter. There’s a point where I felt like the movie was building to a natural conclusion but it just kept going and while I still enjoyed the story that was left to tell, it did get a bit long in the tooth, especially with how much action and profanity you are constantly bombarded with.
At the end of the day, I got exactly what I wanted out of The Hitman’s Bodyguard – a fun action comedy that had solid action and some great laughs brought on by some fantastic lead actors and a better than average supporting cast.
Until next time, Thank You for reading and…
SEE YOU AT THE CINEMA!