If you looked at The Hitman’s Bodyguard on paper, the film looks like a winner. Both Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson are charisma monsters that audiences love and having them together in a Rated R action comedy seemed like a great idea. The plot revolves around Reynold’s bodyguard Bryce protecting Jackson’s imprisoned hitman Kincaid who is set to testify against an evil Russian leader played by the extremely talented Gary Oldman. Looks can be deceiving though and you will begin to realize why The Hitman’s Bodyguard was released in the summer movie dumping grounds of late August where studios unload the projects they know are not up to standards.
Director Patrick Hughes takes his inspiration from the classic odd couple action comedies from the 1980s with his work in The Hitman’s Bodyguard. 48 Hrs., Tango & Cash and especially Midnight Run could all be seen as possible muses for this film and the director. The problems start to arise with this film, because the story has none of the charm of those movies mentioned and presents the audience nothing they haven’t seen before. Many of the jokes fall flat and plot twists are telegraphed to the audience with expected results. The Hitman’s Bodyguard has some entertaining moments here and there over the course of 2 hours, but for the most part it has a been there, done that feel to it.
The one positive in The Hitman’s Bodyguard would be the chemistry between Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson. The two have an ability to make a line funny with just their delivery or a look of their eyes. The unlikely pair manages to make you giggle as they bicker with one another, but the film relies solely on the rapport of Jackson and Reynolds to carry the film and doesn’t care at all if the plot is generic or the characters are paper-thin in terms of depth. The talent involved does all they can to carry the mediocre content, but it’s a losing battle.
The Hitman’s Bodyguard suffers from a serious identity crisis as to what kind of film it wants to be. Is it an action film or goofy road trip comedy? None of the themes blend well and the movie is mostly forgettable. It’s a shame to see such a talented cast of actors (including Gary Oldman who seems so out-of-place in this silly project) completely wasted in a film that almost prides itself on being unoriginal.
Overall, I give The Hitman’s Bodyguard 1.5 out of 4 stars.
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