“The Hitman’s Bodyguard” The Big Summer Closer! But How?
By Scott Kurland
Film: The Hitman’s Bodyguard
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, Salma Hayek, and Elodie Yung
Director: Patrick Hughes
I miss 90s action comedies. Actually, I miss action movies from the 90s in general. Back then you didn’t really need a plot, all you needed were two big name stars and explosions. Films today have so much CGI that practical effects and comedic banter have been pushed aside. I mean we’re talking about a time period where Nic Cage and John Travolta were Kings!!! Kings I tell ya! Kings! Oh how times have changed. This week’s film “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” tries to capture that 90's action goodness. Let’s find out if it succeeds shall we?
Ryan Reynolds stars as Michael Bryce, a professional bodyguard for world dignitaries (ok, you got me, they’re arms dealers and dictators). Bryce is good at what he does. But, after one failed job, Bryce finds himself at rock bottom. Now,the only jobs he can get are protecting drugged up lawyers. Things take a turn for Bryce when another known hitman named Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) cuts a deal to testify against a war-mongering dictator (Gary Oldman) in exchange for his wife's (Salma Hayek) freedom. Now every assassin in the world is after Darius, and it is Bryce’s job to get him to the trial on time alive.
This movie is fine. Not great. Not amazing…just fine. I started writing this review the weekend it opened up and unfortunately, life got in the way before I could finish it. I’m glad I have now because this film has been out for three weeks and made back triple its budget. TRIPLE! If this was any other year, this wouldn’t have made a third of its budget. Reynolds and Jackson are the only two good things in the film. The story is weak. The secondary characters have no dimension except Salma Hayek and that’s only because she’s covered in tattoos and swearing like a sailor.
So why did a thirty-million dollar movie make over a hundred million back? Its simple. This summer movie season sucked. Sure, we had a few good films like “Baby Driver,” “Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2,” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” But we also had a fifth “Pirates of the Caribbean” & “Transformers” movies respectively. A third “Despicable Me” movie and, oh yeah, a movie based entirely on Emojis. So, when an original idea like the “Hitman’s Bodyguard” comes out, people flock to it; not because they truly want to see it, but because people simply need a change of pace. It doesn’t matter what it is. An original idea is an original idea.
As a film “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” is a by-the-numbers 90’s buddy comedy. Reynolds works well with Jackson. The two have great chemistry. The more you watch the movie however, the more you realize you’re just watching Deadpool & Nick Fury. They’re both great at playing those roles. But when I see an actor attempt to portray various characters, I also expect to see a difference in the performances they give. Reynolds is a little less Deadpool, but Jackson is totally Nick Fury. Darius Kincaid shares the same beliefs in good vs evil as Fury which is strange because he’s playing a paid killer. Still the performances of Reynolds and Jackson alone are the only reason I’m recommending this movie.
“The Hitman’s Bodyguard” is buddy-cop action-comedy fun. Would I pay full price to see it? No. This is easily a rental or Netflix watch. I’m still baffled how a film like this managed to stay number one for three consecutive weeks. Still, given that this is the film that ends the summer movie season, it makes perfect sense in a summer of films that were seriously lacking in terms of luster. Do yourself a favor, and wait to see “The Hitman’s Bodyguard.” There are better independent films coming out that deserve your time and money.
REVIEW RATING: C-