Main cast: Ryan Reynolds (Michael Bryce), Samuel L Jackson (Darius Kincaid), Gary Oldman (Vladislav Dukhovich), Élodie Yung (Amelia Roussel), Tine Joustra (Renata Casoria), Joaquim de Almeida (Jean Foucher), Kirsty Mitchell (Rebecca Harr), and Salma Hayek (Sonia Kincaid)
Director: Patrick Hughes
Michael Bryce used to be a triple A-rated bodyguard, at the top of his profession with a perfect track record… until one fine day, when his charge was assassinated in front of his eyes. Two years later, he has lost the love of his life, Interpol agent Amelia Roussel (whom he blames for leaking the identity of his client that led to him getting killed), and is a struggling barrel bottom-scraper bodyguard. He’s still very good at what he does, but he has an uphill climb when it comes to restoring his reputation.
Meanwhile, Amelia is charged to escort prisoner Darius Kincaid, a notorious hitman, all the way to The Hague in the Netherlands, where he would testify against the toppled Belarusian dictator Vladislav Dukhovich before the International Court of Justice. Kincaid agrees to this in order for his wife Sonia being released from prison, and he is the Interpol’s last hope as all previous witnesses “disappeared”. It is not long before Amelia and Kincaid are the sole survivors of their entourage, after being hit by Dukhovich’s assassins, and she realizes that Kincaid is right. Interpol is compromised; there is a mole. Thus, she ropes in the reluctant Michael to escort Kincaid instead.
For once, Ryan Reynold plays the straight man in a buddy caper, but there’s no mistaking that he’s, well, Ryan Reynolds. Samuel L Jackson has a history of playing sarcastic, cool, bad-asses and he’s doing that again here. In a way, you can say that Nick Fury and Deadpool have reversed their roles in this movie, heh. Because The Hitman’s Bodyguard is a movie that relies very heavily on the chemistry between the two leads, both Mr Reynolds and Mr Jackson go beyond the call of duty to salvage the movie. Fortunately, the chemistry works. These two trade banters and quips like two Olympics-tier ping pong players, and even the more absurd lines work like charm thanks to their comedic timing. Then again, you can argue that these two are old pros at this; it is hard for them to get it wrong, but I should point out that while this is true, this is actually the first time these two share top billing in a movie. Things can go wrong just as easily, so let’s give credit where it is due: these two knock it out of the park.
Meanwhile, Salma Hayek is absolutely incredible in her over the top portrayal of an abrasive, violent diva who is the perfect match for Kincaid: when they first met, he fell in love with her after seeing her expertly smash a bottle and use the shattered shard to slit the carotid artery of some asshole in a pub. She doesn’t have too many scenes, but Ms Hayek doesn’t take any prisoners. She is ridiculous, but in a good way. Poor Gary Oldman has the thankless role of playing a character that doesn’t have much to do due to limited screen time, but he is appropriately despicable when he has to be.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much to say about this movie aside from the cast. It’s a very generic, formulaic caper that rehashes faithfully and unimaginatively all the tropes in the genre, so much so that I can practically see the lines forming as the people behind this movie join the dots. Violence taking place to some sentimental background track – been there, done that to death already. Kincaid and Michael bonding over women troubles? Seen that coming. Inappropriate one-liners and retorts in dangerous, near-death situations? Of course. Long-drawn chases and explosions featuring obvious stunt people in place of our lead actors? You bet. The explosions look very fake, by the way – maybe some budget issues came up during the shooting.
As a result of all these oh-so-played-out elements, The Hitman’s Bodyguard is basically any other buddy-buddy action caper. It has some memorable scenes, but as a movie on the whole, it’s quite forgettable.