The Hitman’s Bodyguard, directed by Patrick Hughes, could best be described as your quintessential ‘Buddy Cop’ film, minus the fact that the two lead characters aren’t cops (credit for that opening line has to go to my friend, Ross who I’m paraphrasing). This is a film that doesn’t ever do anything particularly new or original, but that still doesn’t detract from how fun, silly and entertaining it constantly is. I went into this film knowing what I was going to get, but is that still a good enough reason to suggest this as a good film? Well, let’s find out through this review, shall we.
Michael Bryce – played by Ryan Reynolds – was once one of the best bodyguards a person could hire. Now though, he is disgraced and not at the top of anyone’s list for reliable bodyguards. However, after his ex-girlfriend, Amelia Roussel – played by Elodie Yung – tasks him with protecting and transporting a dangerous hitman, Darius Kincaid – played by Samuel L. Jackson – to a court room in The Hague, Netherlands where a war criminal, Vladislav Dukhovich – played by Gary Oldman – is on trial, he sees an opportunity to get his old life back. If he gets him there in time, Dukhovich will spend a life behind bars and our anti-heroes can hopefully right some wrongs in their lives.
I think what makes this film enjoyable, are two things primarily: The first is that it knows what type of film it is (for the most part) and the second is that it has two very charismatic, very funny actors leading the film. I of course want to tackle both of these points, as despite them being the things that help keep this film on track and moving, that still doesn’t mean their perfect in their contributions.
Let’s take the fact that the film knows what it is, first. Everything, from the trailers, to the marketing, to the film in general, has a constant tongue in cheek vibe to it. It is at all times having fun with its plot, it characters; pretty much anything it has at its disposal, and it also helps that it never muddies the water with complicated, exposition filled plot points. The whole structure of the film is very simple and easy to follow. Now that does mean that the film is at no point clever or unique in its offerings; I never saw or experienced anything I hadn’t seen before. But, the film still takes all the tropes and all the predictable plot points/character development and handles them in a competent, entertaining way. Director Patrick Hughes and writer Tom O’Connor constructed something very familiar but still enjoyable to watch. It’s much like comfort food: you know it isn’t necessarily good for you but you still enjoy it and it leaves you feeling good.
The only main gripe I have with the film knowing what it is and running with it is that it isn’t able to always understand its tone. There are quite a few times where it attempts a more emotional, serious tone and for me it simply didn’t work. You see, the film is always setting up the next joke or the next action-comedy set-piece and so this meant I could never actually invest in a moment where the film/characters where trying to be more serious, because I knew that in the very next scene, Samuel L. Jackson would be screaming some profanities, multiple guns would be firing at everything and a car chase would soon ensue. It was hard to take anything seriously, when I knew that the emotional moment was about to be trampled on and passed over.
It’s a little strange that the film seems to know every other aspect of its identity and plays with it really well, but when it came to nailing the tone, the film simply didn’t know how to handle it. Thankfully it wasn’t something I ever felt I had to pay much attention to, as like I pointed out earlier, the film is always moving and always has something new and silly to present to you.
Much of the reason why the film never struggles too much with its momentum is thanks to the two leading actors (Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson). The two of them work great together on-screen. There is an instant chemistry; the two bounce off of one another and help to build the other one up. It is from the two of them that pretty much every laugh from the audience occurs and it is them that help to always keep you engaged enough and entertained enough that you never feel the film is lagging.
And what also helped to keep the film a well-paced, fun watch was that it had plenty of action and well executed stunts to keep you entertained. As I pointed out earlier, The Hitman’s Bodyguard is a very simple film. You’ve more than likely seen many other films just like this one. But what I think this film did that helped it stand out (ever so slightly) was that it offered some really well-done action set-pieces. I was surprised at the level of quality when it came to the larger set-pieces; great, sprawling chase scenes with cars flipping all over the place and henchman being dispatched with is always fun, but that the team behind the film actually took the time to construct and shoot it all, rather than use heavy amounts of CGI, was very much appreciated by me.
I will say that in a day and age where films like John Wick and Atomic Blonde exist, we are now spoiled for great close quarter fight scenes and a film like, The Hitman’s Bodyguard simply cannot compete. It was during the fight scenes that I was the most lacklustre, as it was your usual shaky, jump cut situation. But thankfully the film did offset that problem (slightly) with some entertaining, comedy induced set-pieces.
Overall, when it comes to looking at this film as a whole, I’m personally content with what I got. I walked into this film knowing pretty much what I was going to get. It delivered on that and while it never surpassed me expectations, I was still happy with what I got.
So, I am going to recommend The Hitman’s Bodyguard. It entertained me, it got a few chuckles out of me and I left the cinema satisfied with what I had sat and watched for 2 hours. Don’t expect anything game-changing and you’ll enjoy yourself just fine with this film.
What did you think of the film/my review? Let me know in the comments down below. It would be really appreciated if you could follow my blog directly and follow me over on Twitter – @GavinsRamblings – as it will help to grow them both. If not, that’s fine, I’ll simply leave you now by thanking you and wishing you a great day.