The first time I heard the name of this movie, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, I assumed it was some internet gag. Then the first trailer dropped and I realized I was in for a buddy comedy with two actors that I’m a fan of. The film works primarily due to a compelling story and the great cast. There are a few technical things that stood out as problems at times, but nothing to wreck the film.
The Hitman’s Bodyguard utilized the cast perfectly
Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) is a hitman with information that can help put a horrible tyrant, Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman), away. However, he doesn’t trust Interpol, or pretty much anyone but himself, to ensure he makes it to the trial. When things go wrong Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) is hired to help escort him the rest of the way. The two guys have a history and it’s not easy for them to put their egos aside and work together.
Jackson and Reynolds are great together. To be fair, Reynolds has always made me laugh. Going back to Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place, I’ve found him charming and his brand of dry sarcasm endearing. Jackson really is big in this movie, but in the best way possible. He seems to be having a blast playing this invincible seeming hitman. There is even a joke about his over use of the phrase “Mother F&@#er” that gets tossed around a lot here as well. Oldman plays another eccentric villain, but really isn’t that prominent compared to the relationship between hitman and bodyguard.
The essence of the story is fairly simple, which is ultimately a traditional buddy cop story pushed to the fringes similar to last years Nice Guys in some ways, but it still works. The two guys have a history as they were often on opposing teams. Both are excellent at their respective jobs that are similar yet polar opposites. However, Kincaid excels in an area that Bryce seems to be struggling in; love. How those stories intertwine and play out is compelling and executed fairly well despite being comical.
Weakest area is the lighting
For the most part, the films technical elements are solid. The car chases, shoot outs, and hand to hand combat sequences are all satisfactory. It’s the lighting that is often the literal glaring problem. Multiple times scenes are overexposed and a weird haze is created by hot spots. It is as noticeable as any of J.J. Abrams lens flares, but seems far less intentional.
Nevertheless, the film was entertaining and definitely earns the R rating for language and violence. Could these two be the new Riggs and Murtaugh? Probably not, but it’s definitely one of the funnier comedies of the summer. The Hitman’s Bodyguard earns the Not Quite Golden, Ponyboy rating.