‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’ is as Cliché as They Come, but Reynolds and Jackson Inject Enough Fun to make it Worthwhile

The Hitman’s Bodyguard
Rating: R
Runtime: 1 hour 58 minutes
Director: Patrick Hughes
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, and Salma Hayek


Would you believe this isn’t the first time Ryan Reynolds has been tasked with protecting a dangerous fugitive played by an acclaimed black actor?

After having to protect a fugitive played by Denzel Washington in 2012’s Safe House, Ryan Reynolds once again plays a highly skilled protector of a dangerous hitman, this time played by Samuel L. Jackson. Together, they must travel across Europe in time to make an international court hearing to testify against a genocidal Belarusian dictator. But this movie is really about high-stakes situational comedy, gratuitous violence, and expletive-ridden banter between the two lead actors. And that’s where all of the enjoyment to be had with The Hitman’s Bodyguard stems from.

SALMA
Sonia Kincaid (Salma Hayek), Jackson’s on-screen wife, awaits release from an Amsterdam prison

Reynolds and Jackson are the heart of the film and do a great job of selling the mutual distaste for the other. Reynolds is an “AAA-rated” professional bodyguard who is regularly hired to protect high profile, and high-risk clients, while Jackson is a prolific contract killer who has made countless attempts on Reynolds’ clients over the years. As occupational adversaries, they have an organic reason to hate each other, which naturally sets the stage for some needless competition and violent shenanigans. That being said, the premise of this movie is nothing new. We’ve seen it a thousand times before in some way, shape, or form. All the twists, turns, and reveals are so obviously telegraphed, you’ll see them coming from a mile away. But while inherently stale, Bodyguard knows to utilize the comedic chops of its leads and tries to create some thematic uniqueness through its villain.

The villain of Bodyguard, played by Gary Oldman is a Belarusian dictator, perfectly smug, unapologetic, and intimidating in his portrayal. He’s actually very reminiscent to real-life Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov who has been accused of committing genocide on homosexuals in Chechnya. Oldman’s villain brings some weight to what’s at stake for the narrative. I have to say, it’s refreshing to see a serious villain in these kind of movies for once, even if it doesn’t make the movie better or worse.

Luckily for Bodyguard, it doesn’t matter how predictable or unoriginal it is as long as it manages to entertain and inspire laughs, and it succeeds in doing just that. There really isn’t much more to say about The Hitman’s Bodyguard; it’s a forgettable action comedy that tries to spice up it’s familiar premise with an of-the-times villain, but at the end of the day, it’s a perfectly watchable, fun movie that’s at least worth a single viewing.

6.5/10

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