Verge Reviews: The Hitman’s Bodyguard

Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L Jackson team up in this summer’s hugely anticipated action-comedy The Hitman’s Bodyguard.

There are few funnier male leads around at the moment than Reynolds and even fewer badass legends than Samuel L Jackson, so you’d be forgiven for getting excited about the prospect of the two of them facing off against each other in Lionsgate’s latest release.

Reynolds plays Michael Bryce, a former Triple A Executive Protection Agent who must look after his latest client and former nemesis, legendary hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L Jackson) as he aims to testify against brutal dictator Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman) at the International Court of Justice. Two years before to the trial, Reynolds loses his Triple A status after his client is killed under his protection and he loses everything in his idyllic life; his status, job and even his Interpol agent partner Amelia Roussel (Élodie Yung) who he believes sold him out after declaring his client’s details to her. Two years on, Bryce is unable to forget his former glory and still hung up on Roussel’s apparent betrayal. When Kincaid is released from prison to give evidence at the trial against Dukhovich, Bryce receives a phone call from Roussel needing his help to get Kincaid from London to the Hague in 24 hours as the two former enemies are forced to work together to defeat Dukhovich and help Bryce get his career back on track.

Directed by Patrick Hughes, The Hitman’s Bodyguard is exactly what you’d expect from an action-comedy and in my opinion, more. The beginning is very stylishly shot and there are plenty of laughs and action packed scenes and it certainly takes itself more seriously than some of the other recent releases of the same genre. One of the things that really struck me in The Hitman’s Bodyguard, though, is how writer Tom O’Connor has managed to create a comedy that is worryingly accurate and conceivable. It goes without saying that a Dictator giving evidence at The International Court of Justice for crimes against humanity is a fairly hot topic at the moment, given the current nuclear crisis that seems to be unfolding and I have to say how refreshing it is to watch an action-comedy film that is actually fairly believable!

It’s funny too, Reynolds excels in the down and out role as we all know from his success in Deadpool and brings his wit and sarcasm to the role of Bryce and provides the perfect anecdote to Jackson’s gung-ho Kincaid. Jackson plays Kincaid with the perfect amount of arrogance and humour and works so well opposite both Reynolds and his hot-headed wife Sonia, played brilliantly by Salma Hayek. Hayek is feisty, fierce, funny and is very much as punchy as her notorious husband. Gary Oldman deserves a special mention too, his honest and brutal performance as Dukhovich is genuinely quite scary for what is essentially, a light hearted action-comedy and as I mentioned earlier, his speeches at The Hague are worryingly close to some that we’re used to hearing in reality. So the performances are great and the comedy is definitely there in The Hitman’s Bodyguard, there are loads of sarcastic one liners and amusing flashbacks and the chemistry between Reynolds and Jackson is what makes the movie tick in my opinion.

 

Where does the film fall down then? Well, in parts the film does seem to drag and it gets a little lost towards the end. At the beginning of the film, you’re almost waiting for the film and the action to kick in and when it does, the first action scenes with the ambush is a little over the top and not hugely impressive. The action scenes are a little too long, especially the speed boat escape in Amsterdam, and the Amsterdam element of the storyline in general to me, seemed to be rather shoehorned in and didn’t really help the speed of the film. Kincaid’s romantic trip to the clock tower in particular didn’t do it for me and it just kind of felt that the film was biding time before the inevitable rush to get to The Hague before the 5PM deadline. The Interpol intelligence leak wasn’t particularly subtle either, I guarantee that as soon as it’s revealed there is a leak (not really a spoiler, don’t worry!) you’ll be able to guess who it is!

Overall, The Hitman’s Bodyguard is a welcome addition to the action-comedy genre. I’m sure it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, nor will it win any awards in the run up to awards season but it’s a fun, action packed comedy with lots of laughs and for once, a believable villain.
Rating: 3.5/5
The Hitman’s Bodyguard starring Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L Jackson, Salma Hayek, Élodie Yung and Gary Oldman is released Nationwide on Friday 18th August by Lionsgate
Watch the trailer here: