The Hitman's Bodyguard review
How many of you have seen the movie Midnight Run? It was an action comedy staring Robert De Nero and Charles Grodin about a law enforcer trying to escort someone somewhere while being pursued by enemies that want the one being protected dead. Even if you haven’t seen the latter movie, this is a premise that has been used for several movies. We see this a lot as it not only allows for a buddy road movie, but it’s easy to write in action sequences. Just take a couple of cars, let them chase each other wherever they are, and you probably have a product that people are going to like.
Now how this works depends on the players you have. One of my favorite road movies is still Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Steve Martin and John Candy had great characters and a script that allowed a lot of play between the uptight and slob personalities. While there’s no guide on how to do this right, it seems that everyone can agree that the two stars have to have conflicting characteristics in order to generate better comedy. For The Hitman’s Bodyguard, we get a combination of the large personalities of Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson.
Triple A rated agent Michael Bryce (played by Ryan Reynolds) was once in demand before he let one of his clients get assassinated. He know tends to protect drug addicted Wall Street types only for the money. He’s given a chance for redemption when he’s asked to transport a skilled hitman Darius Kincaid (played by Samuel L. Jackson) from the United Kingdom to the International Court of Justice to stand and testify for an eastern European dictator Vladidlav Dukhovich (played by Gary Oldman). Daris agrees to be there when he’s told that if he does so, they will release his wife.
Upon heading out, Michael realizes that he has more trouble then he realizes, as Darius is impulsive and would rather take the trip alone. To top it off, many of the dictators agents are after Darius, knowing that with him dead, the leader remains in power. Michael and Darius have several mishaps, close calls, all the stuff you’d expect out of this story.
Something like The Hitman’s Bodyguard will seem like a scenario that’s been done to death unless it has something new to offer. This does as both Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson make for a fun team. While I can’ say their playing fully developed characters, they both separate themselves enough to give them a clear grounding for their comedy. I can say that I laughed plenty times to say that this was fun. I would even argue that this is so self aware of how tired this plot device is, this may be a parody is disguise. I take that back, this IS a parody, as many moments are enjoyably over-the-top. The action sequences are staged well, especially a boat chase in Amsterdam that made me realize that I haven’t seen that before in that European location.
What prevents this from being great are two things. First, I’d say that the climax goes on a little long as we get another “liar revealed” plot that separates the characters for a bit. This can be done well, but in the case for The Hitman’s Bodyguard, it flat out stops the story until they can reunite. Couldn’t they have skipped this? They already seem to know the Midnight Run storyline is being reused, so you’d think they’d known better. Secondly, the tones can sometimes be uneven. It’s not too much, but there are some parts that would fit a Mel Brooks movie more then this.
I’ll give this four The Bodyguard posters out of five. This movie is enjoyably fine. It’s certainly not great, but there’s nothing wrong with that. I could see myself watching this again with a group of friends. On my own, I’d have to see what else was one before settling. If you don’t like the Midnight Run story, then your probably not going to like this, but I think everyone will get what they expect. Check it out and see if it has enough to make it its own thing.