Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson clearly have chemistry in The Hitman’s Bodyguard but that’s just about the only positive thing to like about the action comedy.
Directed by Patrick Hughes from a screenplay written by Tom O’Connor, the action comedy stars Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, and Salma Hayek, Elodie Yung, Joaquim De Almeida, Kirsty Mitchell, with Richard E. Grant.
Following a client being murdered in front of his eyes, Michael Bryce (Reynolds) loses his rating as one of the top executive protection agents in the world with an AAA rating. Two years later, he’s taking whatever jobs he can get. Following an ambush, his ex-girlfriend and INTERPOL agent Amelia Roussel (Yung) hires him to escort Darius Kincaid (Jackson) from England to the International Criminal Court in Hague after they get caught in an ambush and suspect that there’s a mole on the inside. There’s nobody else that Amelia trusts to get the job done. Bryce and Kincaid have a prior history so to put these two people together doesn’t seem like a great decision to begin with.
Kincaid is one of the last witnesses standing to not be killed by ruthless Belarusian dictator Vladislav Dukhovich (Oldman). Getting to the ICC is easier said than done. Kincaid made the mistake of picking up a phone from one of Dukhovich’s thugs and because of this, he brings the bad guys straight to them. Mistake #1 was to never ever take the phone from a bad guy. Haven’t you heard of GPS?!?
Kincaid makes an agreement with INTERPOL to serve as a witness and go back to jail afterwards. He also makes sure that his wife, Sonia (Hayek), will be fully pardoned and released from jail. Hayek feels so underused even as all of her appearances in jail are full of comedy, especially with the treatment of her cellmate, who just stands still while facing the corner of the wall.
Bryce and Kincaid may hate each other at the start but the two display a clear bond by the end of the film. It’s such an action comedy cliche but with any other leading actors, it probably would not have worked. Because it’s Reynolds and Jackson, it does. The two are mismatched from the start, a throwback to your Beverly Hills Cop and Lethal Weapon films of the 80s and 90s. With the way it ends, you can’t help but think about whether or not they will make a sequel.
O’Connor’s script was on the 2011 Black List but in the weeks leading up to filming, the entire movie was re-written as an action comedy. One can only wonder what the movie would have looked like if they had used the original script. The film presented to us isn’t all that great. There’s no denying that Reynolds and Jackson have chemistry together when the two of them are on screen. With anyone else, this film probably wouldn’t be anywhere near the little fun that it is but that’s not saying much. Action comedies are so cliched these days but The Hitman’s Bodyguard doesn’t have anything to offer for a fresh take on the genre.
Lionsgate opened The Hitman’s Bodyguard on August 18, 2017.