It is the end of the summer. We have had the big blockbusters back in June and July to capitalise on all those holidaying families. However, with everyone turning their mind to school again, Hollywood is quietly sneaking out the films that perhaps aren’t the sure fire hits we saw earlier on in the summer. So how come The Hitman’s Bodyguard is part of this late August release schedule? It has two great leads, a fun looking plot and great looking action sequences, why is it in the dumping ground?
Down on his luck protection agent, Michael Bryce, is tasked with bringing wanted contract killer, Darius Kincaid, to the trial of an accused Eastern European dictator, Vladislav Dukhovich, where Kincaid is to be the star witness. However, Dukhovich has other plans, so Bryce and Kincaid must avoid Dukhovichs men, as well as Interpol agents and police in order to put Dukhovich away for good.
It may be a little early to say so, but I think Lionsgate were right in releasing The Hitman’s Bodyguard now because this film feels disposable. It is an explosive 2 hours, but it doesn’t leave you feeling much. But Ben, I hear you say, it’s a buddy action comedy, it isn’t supposed to make you feel anything, you’re just supposed to enjoy it. Well, sir or madam or the polite pronoun that you would like to be addressed as, I would respond with, how do you feel after eating a bag of crisps, you enjoyed it but you weren’t satisfied by it. Other films like The Raid Redemption, early Jackie Chan or Dredd are action films, and they are satisfying; they get your adrenaline up, they have spectacle they have an intangible something that makes them stand out. Don’t get me wrong the action set pieces are great, I mean the extended one through the streets and water ways is a technical phenomenon and it is shot well, but storywise there is nothing that we haven’t really seen before, namely in Cannon Ball Run.
The two characters go from hating each other, to respecting each other to liking each other. Bryce is up tight and likes to plan for every eventuality, while Kincaid is a laid back fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of guy. The two are opposed, even right down to their ideologies, Bryce protects, Kincaid Kills; but Bryce protects bad people while Kincaid kills them. That is perhaps one of the only interesting things that is brought up by The Hitman’s Bodyguard but it isn’t really explored well.
However, despite being formulaic and somewhat disposable action fair, I did find myself getting into it more than other middle of the road action blockbusters I have seen. That is mainly due to the wonderful chemistry between our two leads, Deadpool himself Ryan Reynalds as Michael Bryce and Samuel L Jackson as the f-ing and blinding Darius Kincaid. They save the movie through their at times hilarious interactions and ability to pull off an action sequence. With leads this strong it can be a problem when they are not on screen because the movie feels incredibly flat and boring; I can’t remember anything about the plots involving other characters because Reynolds and Jackson are just too good. Gary Oldman tries his best to be a memorable villain, the Eastern European dictator, but to be frank Oldman can do this in his sleep and it sort of shows that this was a paycheck project. Salma Hayek puts in a fight to be memorable as Kincaid’s wife, but she falls short a little.
It may have some good action and a great buddy comedy duo in Jackson and Reynalds, but The Hitman’s Bodyguard cliches are something I will not miss. It is literally and figuratively a popcorn flick, something to keep you occupied for 2 hours but offering nothing in terms of nutrition or enjoyment. If this movie was just a compilation of Bryce and Kincaid doing stuff together I would have been happier, but as it is I will only occasionally watch again if it’s on TV and there is nothing else I could be watching.
You can watch The Hitman’s Bodyguard in cinema’s now