The Hitman's Bodyguard - This Old Fashioned Euro Pudding Of A Buddy Movie Does Not Rock
Dir: Patrick Hughes
Starring Ryan Reynlds, Samuel L Jackson, Gary Oldman, Salma Hayek, Richard E. Grant
When name actors decamp for action movies in Europe, things can go either way. Sometimes you get a Lucy or a Taken. Other times you get a From Paris With Love or a Taken 3.
The Hitman’s Bodyguard sees Marvel heroes Deadpool and Nick Fury racing and shooting their way through the red light district of Amsterdam – via Coventry! - and the results? Decidedly mixed, average even.
You’d think the details would be obvious. Sam Jackson is the Hitman, Ryan Reynolds is the Bodyguard. They have to get from A-B, and they aspire to be a throwback to the action comedy buddy movie stylings of the original Lethal Weapon. Simple as that. Then why oh why is this film just rammed to the gills with vast amounts of Basil Exposition? Characters spend most of their time not just explaining themselves, but explain others to themselves – people who should know their own back stories already. Even when the film nears it climax – with the Hitman testifying against the Russian Despot (a need-an-extension-on-the-house Oldman) – Jackson suddenly goes off and starts telling us even more detail about his childhood. In front of the International Criminal Court no less! What the fuck? we ask.
True, it does give us a breather from the seemingly interminable procession of increasingly dumb, loud and frankly poorly executed shootouts and car chases that have proceeded this moment. Despite surrounding himself with sound and fury, director Hughes really has no flair for action.
And speaking of which – question for anyone that sees this movie – during the final big chase, Reynolds loses Jackson and is chased through the subway by the Russkie army guys. WHY?? THEY’RE NOT AFTER HIM!!! Their mission is to kill the Hitman, the fact that the bodyguard is out of the picture and opted for the train should be good news for these guys. Let him go – they didn’t want him there in the first place! But – oh yeah. He’s Ryan Reynolds. We have to keep him in the picture somehow. Even if it makes no sense and has no relation to the “plot” whatsoever. It’s lapses like this that very easily derail this movie.
On the (limited) plus siade, however, whilst the humour in the movie often feels laboured and rarely lands, both Reynolds and Jackson are always worth watching, even when the material is letting them down like it does here. They have a certain chemistry that deserve a better home and both have a couple of moments. But everything else here is paycheck and perfunctory.
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