The Hitman’s Bodyguard Film Review
Well it looked great on paper. The Hitman’s Bodyguard I mean. Two of the most charismatic and talented actors in the two lead roles, great supporting cast, Gary Oldman as the main villain and plenty of action to satisfy all the „buddy action movie“ fans out there. Sadly The Hitman’s Bodyguard is a bit of an „end of the summer“ letdown, rather than a cult classic from the ranks of oh… let’s say Midnight Run.
But hey… Ryan Reynolds now is Michael Bryce, an ex-triple A rated executive protection agent who after fallen on hard times and reluctantly accepts an offer from his ex-girlfriend, the Interpol agent Amelia Roussel (Élodie Yung). He needs to escort the notorious hit men Darius Kincaid/Darius Evan (Samuel L. Jackson) to testify against the Belarus dictator Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman) in the Hague, in order to secure the release of Kikcaid’s incarcerated wife Sonia (Salma Hayek). Things will not go smoothly I’m afraid.
You’ll need more than fantastic male actors to do a fantastic buddy action comedy, and you know it. As great as Jackson and Raynolds are in the roles, they really cannot save his movie from being a letdown. Yeah sure, the two lead actors are together almost constantly on the screen (actually for for two thirds of the movie) and their chemistry shines through in their vastly different roles. But you have to admit they know how to do comedy. Even in a bad movie. And to do comedy well. Much of the humor comes from their delivery as much as it comes from their lines, but you’re actually in it for the comedic approach here. I mean… That was even advertised on the movie’s movie poster. Reynolds carrying Jackson as a spoof of the poster for the Bodyguard. Priceless I though. But because here they are left on their own for the majority of the movie’s runtime, they are not given much material in the script to work with. Sure there are some great lines, some great scenes (the one in the nun’s van is fantastic) and even some great actions scenes with them (the fight is the tool shop is brilliant), but for the most part they are left to sizzle out very quickly in the scenes.
The small moments of enjoyment and genuine fun come in the form of a flash back romantic scenes between Kikcaid and his wife Sonia prior this whole mess, but for the most part… truly the movie relies too much on Ryan and Samuel. Which is a shame because there is plenty of talent in the supporting roles. Salma is wasted here (although even with the small role opportunity that she’s been given manages to be foul-mouthed and hilarious), so is Elodie Young and don’t get me even started about Gary Oldman. The British legend sports a Russian accent similar to the one in Air Force One, but now in The Hitman’s Bodyguard he’s reduced to a cliché and forgettable villain. Well if you think about it none of the supporting characters is on screen enough to make an impact, or to be engaged in the plot line. So likewise, Dukhovich makes a pit stop once in a while, however not enough to make him a memorable or menacing enough, or meaningful for that matter.
But for the life of me, I cannot understand why oh why Amelia Roussel does not tag along for the ride (to The Hague) with the hitman and bodyguard. She is there right up until Kincaid is brought to the safe house and she leaves back to Interpol right afterwards. I know it was meant to be a buddy movie, but having a girl between the polar opposites would have been much better. And especially a girl who has a romantic history with one of the leads.
So, int he end… Director Patrick Hughes plays it safe here. Yeah the action scenes are not particularly memorable but they are really fun to watch (thanks to the young and talented director and the editing done by Jake Roberts). Hughes made a bloody and brutal movie with some of the best actors in Hollywood, that somehow feels disposable and very forgettable. Such a shame. Could have been an action classic for the ages.