The Hitman’s Bodyguard is an enjoyably explosive comedy romp with its toes dipping into European schools of styled action (think Kiss Of The Dragon and The Bourne Identity somewhat but without the grittiness) melded with a “buddy cop” tone of shenanigans and American banter-filled laughs. Good money on Samuel L. Jackson creating a new record for the amount of “mother f**kers” crammed into one movie; give the writer a medal.
The premise: Ryan Reynolds is a highly accomplished security operative, who after dramatically losing a wealthy client to an inexplicable sniper shot, falls from grace and must escort a sworn enemy, played by Samuel L. Jackson, to the hearing of Gary Oldman as a corrupt Russian dictator so he can make a vital statement at the UN to put the villain behind bars. Witnesses before Jackson have been murdered and it is up to Reynolds to get him there in one piece with targets firmly on their backs every step of the way.
When The Hitman’s Bodyguard clicks, it’s a great film. Gary Oldman delightfully hams it up as the evil dictator but delivers moments of menace making much more out of the cliché dialogue he is given to work with. Reynolds and Jackson have good chemistry as they battle foes together and gradually build trust between them. Jackson is particularly humorous as the quirky and philosophically off-the-wall mercenary, as is Salma Hayek as his imprisoned wife. There is a particularly good standout flashback scene in which we witness their loving and violent first meeting in a neon-lit bar.
As the film nears its finale we’re treated to riverside chases and a deliciously brutal fight in a hardware store. The film doesn’t reach the slick levels of sequences from the recent John Wick films, though it boasts some good combat and an excellent early heist scene, in which the film is trying hard to be memorable and for the most part succeeds. The soundtrack is brilliant, using typically contrasting music to the visuals with the likes of Chuck Berry and Foreigner. Whereas some films such as Suicide Squad used to death the well-thought storytelling and tone setting music trend achieved by Guardians Of The Galaxy; The Hitman’s Bodyguard handles this element with care and enriches the movie. It’s a soundtrack destined to be googled by intrigued audiences following the end credits.
The film was good enough to trust in its core abilities of humour, main players and action galore, which made it disappointing from time to time when it fell into simplistic fart gags which brought its overall quality down a peg. The duration was too long but people will get their money’s worth and this will be a satisfactory film appealing to many and likely to let down few.
Its big character-driven finale caps off what will be a popcorn-guzzling session at the cinema in the fantastical world of Hollywood output.