Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Hitman's Bodyguard

Year: 2017
Director: Patrick Hughes
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L Jackson, Gary Oldman, Salma Hayek, Elodie Yung, Joaquim de Almeida

Plot: A skilled bodyguard is tasked by his ex-girlfriend, who is an Interpol agent, to escort a hitman to The Hague in order to testify against a brutal dictator charged with war crimes. The problem is, the bodyguard and the hitman have a past, and they have to keep themselves from killing each other while being chased by the dictator's men all the way to the court building.

Review: The concept behind The Hitman's Bodyguard is quite familiar by now: two people who can't stand each other have to set aside their differences and work together to stay alive. 

We are first introduced to Michael Bryce, a top dollar bodyguard whose reputation goes down the drain after one of his clients gets killed. One day he gets a call from his ex-girlfriend Amelia, an Interpol agent, who needs to transport Darius Kincaid, a mouthy hitman to The Hague in order to testify against President Dukhovich of Belarus, who is being charged with war crimes. Amelia can't trust her own team after they're attacked in broad daylight, so Bryce gets the call. However, he and Darius have a history of trying to kill each other, which they must now put aside if they want to make it to court on time.

Since this is an action comedy, you can expect Bryce and Darius to continuously get on each other's nerves and arguing all the way there, and eventually bonding and coming clean with certain things. This is the predictable part of course, but The Hitman's Bodyguard isn't trying to break new ground on the genre, it's just trying to get the audience to have fun, which it does for the most part. Director Patrick Hughes (The Expendables 3) does a splendid job keeping the film steadily moving with one action sequence after another, and all of them well shot. The final third of the film is pretty good as Hughes treats us to a car, bike and boat chase simultaneously, which then moves to a car chase and a foot chase in parallel. As far as the action goes, the film doesn't disappoint.

The jokes however, are hit and miss. Half the time, it works, usually when Darius and Bryce are arguing, but it misses when Darius tries to make fun of his unwilling partner, or when Salma Hayek's character (Darius' wife) goes on a rant in her prison cell. In fact, Hayek's presence here is quite a waste as she spends most of her screen time away from the two leads, and only has a small connection to the main plot.

Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L Jackson work very well together as Bryce and Darius respectively, with Reynolds being a less verbose version of Wade Wilson, and Jackson being the slightly reckless, shoot first ask questions later kind of guy. Gary Oldman plays Dukhovich the same way he played the villain in Air Force One, which is nothing new but works nonetheless. Elodie Yung is underused as Amelia, not being allowed to show her ass kicking skills we know she has.

Another miss for the film is the soundtrack, which varies from eighties hits like Hello and I Want To Know What Love Is, to loud heavy metal music. Hughes should just stick to one genre.

Overall, The Hitman's Bodyguard is an enjoyable action comedy which won't stay in your mind when it's over, but it's at least fun to watch. (7/10)

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