The 'Not-So-Critical' Critic:
on THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD (2017, 113 minutes, R)
The Quick of It -
Another summer, sleeper ‘hit’ on our hands, boys and girls.
I know, this seems like it would be a no-brainer. But one always questions a new flick that seems like a film you have seen a hundred times before. This is, and is not, one of those films.
THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD is not your typical ‘buddy film’. I would classify this as a sarcastically-driven duel-off between two of the most notably charismatic actors of our generation – Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson. THB is about a professional bodyguard who lost his prestigious agency and a detained hitman who has info on a Russian politician, the President of Belarus, which he is using as currency to get his wife absolved of her crimes. After a botched transfer moving Darius Kincaid (Jackson) by the Interpol, Michael Bryce (Reynolds) is called in to get Kincaid to the International Court of Justice, where President Dukhovich (Gary Oldman) is on trial for the ‘usual’ atrocities a film-dictator commits.
Young director Patrick Hughes (of RED HILL and THE EXPENDABLES 3) and writer Tom O’Connor make a resounding statement behind the talent they command beyond the camera. If you didn’t know, which you will now, this film was actually not written with Reynolds and Jackson in mind. The screenplay was completed before 2005 and has sat on the ‘Black List’ (a “most liked” list of screenplays not yet produced) since then.
This film has everything needed to make it entertaining on so many levels. It has unrelenting comedic moments. It has heart-pounding action. And where needed, it has character depth and a sense of twisted moral compass. But it truly is the banter between our leads that fuels this adrenalin rush. There is no denying that “mother-%$#@*&” was dropped so many times, and it only made me smile the more.
The leading ladies were not bad, either. The quieter Elodie Yung (our Elektra from the Netflix series) is the grounding element for Reynolds while Salma Hayek matches the intensity of Jackson, probably eclipsing him with her ‘Spanish fire’. Hayek is in a Dutch prison for the film, but you wonder who really was the one that controlled the environment. You must understand… she had her cellmate stand in the corner most of the time, even making her fart from fear. Yeah, that bad.
So, if you are looking for an evening filled with laughs anytime soon, make your way to the theater… “mother-%$#@*&”!!!