With its tongue-in-cheek advertising campaign and two of the most likeable male stars working in film today, “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” should’ve been a slam dunk. The fun banter between Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson keeps this movie from being a total disaster, but overall it’s just another bland and forgettable action movie. There is one bright spot that makes this film worth seeing, and it will surprise you. That reason? Salma Hayek.
Hayek has been a roll lately and has been giving extraordinary performances in every single film she’s in (see “How to Be a Latin Lover” and “Beatriz at Dinner”) and her foul-mouthed, bone snapping, bar brawling wife is a total riot here. I’d like to see her character get her own spin-off movie. Reynolds is enjoyable as affable former CIA agent Michael, a man who serves as a driver and bodyguard to some of the world’s baddies. Jackson plays Darius, one of the world’s most notorious hitmen. When the odd pair are teamed up on a drive from England to Holland so Darius can testify against some really bad guys (lead by Gary Oldman), henchmen shoot at them and chase them the entire way.
It’s the classic buddy formula and it works well enough because of the undeniable chemistry between the two leads. These two actors pair well together and if this had been a better script, the film could’ve become a classic action comedy. It’s not a total stinker, but it’s not as good as you hope it will be. Lovers of bloody gun violence will be satisfied and there are a couple of pretty good high speed car chases, including a fun (sort of) boat chase through the canals of Amsterdam.
The fight scenes are just okay too, but most are well choreographed and filmed without that dreaded shaky cam. Director Patrick Hughes takes a page from the “Atomic Blonde” playbook and misuses pop love songs to score some of his violent shootouts and brawls. Here’s hoping this trend will end very soon.
This uninspired bromance is not creative and it’s far from original, but who isn’t entertained by Samuel L. Jackson loudly spouting off his dialogue with all manner of creative “motherf%$&ers” peppered throughout?