The Hitman’s Bodyguard

  • 16 Sep - 22 Sep, 2017
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Reviews

In the true spirit of the 80’s and 90’s actioners like Tango and Cash, Lethal Weapon and many more that had comedy as its backbone, Hitman’s Bodyguard (HB) is wisecracking action, and chemistry wrapped in a muslin-thin plot. Like its foregone peers HB is nothing to rave about but is amusing enough that it saves itself from becoming a complete dud. The plot introduces Michael Bryce, a successful bodyguard with an impeccable track record, whose client is one day shot down on his watch. Two years later, we see that his lifestyle has been downgraded from an amazing car and lavish home, to a car that may serve as his home (which is misleading, as the film shows us later). His current car is scratched up and smells like someone defecated in it – and it speaks volumes about his career’s downward spiral. Once his clientele consisted of topnotch movers and shakers of the world; now they are limited to drugged out executives (Richard E. Grant in a small, forgivable role). But regardless of this, Bryce is still on top of his game where protecting his clientele is concerned, and he likes to be cautious in a predictable fashion.

Meanwhile, his ex-girlfriend Amelia Roussel (Élodie Yung), who happens to be an Interpol officer, has to protect Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) – a fast retorting, foulmouthed super hitman – who is to appear in front of the world court to testify against a villain dictator Dukhovich (Gary Oldman). Kincaid has agreed to testify to protect his lovely wife, Sonia (Salma Hayek) – a woman who will kill anyone who even fathoms the thought of becoming handsy with her. When Amelia gets double crossed, she doesn’t know who to call for help. So she asks Bryce to bring Kincaid to The Hague from England, safe and sound. However, as it turns out, Kincaid has tried to kill Bryce 28 times, and as it turns out, they are both incompatible, with the former being happy-go-lucky reckless who moves without a plan, which makes things hard for the latter. So they both bicker and get on each other’s nerve on the road trip from England to The Hague, while bad guys try to kill them.

Writer Tom O'Connor’s screenplay is unexciting plot-wise, but both, Reynolds and Jackson have excellent comedic timing that make it work. Both have great chemistry which is the only thing that drives HB through action-comedy clichés and a very weak story. The movie’s funniest moments come from a flashback sequence of Kincaid and his foul mouthed wife’s first meeting, when he sees her bashing men in the bar she works in and the end sequence. Bryce and Amelia are just boring compared to the hitman couple.

Director Patrick Hughes (of Expendable 3 fame) indulges in excess car chases when the story gets to Amsterdam. This reckless abandon just waters down the chemistry when the male leads separate and become busy with loud actions without banter. The actors are great at what they do, with non-stop expletives fueling an unexciting vehicle – and isn’t that what the trailers promised us in the first place? So, why deviate from a formula that works? •