The Hitman’s Bodyguard is the kind of movie that is needed after a glut of huge summer blockbusters that may or may not have lived up to their hype. What makes this even better is that even though it’s not another superhero hype flick, it’s a fun look into what if Deadpool and Nick Fury teamed up in a buddy movie; and this formula works.
Brought to you by The Expendables 3’s Patrick Hughes, this movie tells the tale of Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) who was once a top-rated executive protection agent until he lost a high value target. Upon that loss, his life predictably spiraled out of control. On the other side is, Darius Kinkaid (Samuel Jackson), a hitman who is needed as a witness in the Netherlands to testify against Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman), a merciless Eastern European dictator. Kincaid’s transportation to the trial is botched and Bryce is called in to get Kincaid there in one piece; needless to say both realize that there is a lot of resentment and animosity between them.
Although this movie ticks off all of the boxes of dramatic chases along the way of course, what’s really interesting is the conversation at the midpoint of the movie where they discuss who is the real bad guy: the man who kills bad people or the man who protects them. While the movie is not meant to be deep philosophically, that talking point was one of interest. What the men do learn, is that they aren’t all that dissimilar in their methods.
What makes this movie really click is the casting. Basically, it’s about letting Jackson and Reynolds be themselves with the back and forth banter, quips and just letting them go. Bryce is your typical straight laced, by the book agent where Kincaid is the older, wiser, just live life kind of guy. I just enjoyed every scene that they were in, as the complemented each other so well. The supporting cast also does their part to pitch in. Élodie Yung as Amelia Ryder does well with her role as she is the catalyst for bringing Kinkaid and Bryce together but what’s even more fun is watching Salma Hayek steal her scenes as Kincaid’s wife. Her scenes will leave you asking who is really running the asylum!
The cinematography works very well here as there looks to be a lot of practical effects used that may come as a relief to seeing so many CGI effects in movies. This holds true, especially when we are talking about that many of the chases and action sequences takes place in settings one would mostly see in more serious Bond and Bourne fare. What I really did like is that in order to keep some levity to the movie is that the soundtrack in certain scenes were good classics that we have heard through the years including Lionel’s Ritchie’s Hello, Spiderbait’s take on Black Betty and during a fight scene listening to Chuck Berry’s Little Queenie.
If there was one complaint I had with the movie is that it seemed that it slightly overstayed its welcome towards the end as everything was wrapping up. The counter to this is that because the casting worked so well, you really don’t mind it so much. I mean to put it in Sam Jackson’s terms, “Sh*t mothaf**ka you done made it this far, you may as well sit your a** here until it’s over!” Which by the way, if you stay all of the way through, you get a musical treat from Mr. Jackson.
Overall, this movie is a great way to get through mid-August and to start winding down the summer. The story while a bit predictable, is still a fun romp, briskly paced and full of action. Fans of Jackson and Reynolds will not be disappointed.
4.5 Executive Agents out of 5
Thanks to Gofobo for the passes