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The Hitman’s Bodyguard




The Hitman’s Bodyguard (R)
Film Reviews by Amy Diaz

08/24/17
By Amy Diaz adiaz@hippopress.com



The Hitman’s Bodyguard (R)

Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds kicky-punch at each other and assorted baddies in The Hitman’s Bodyguard, an almost average action comedy.
Michael Bryce (Reynolds) was a high-priced, well-regarded security expert for wealthy, vaguely bad-guy clients. His career of careful planning was all for naught when an arms dealer was assassinated while under his protection. Now, he works the bottom rung of the security world and blames his misfortune on his ex-girlfriend, Interpol agent Amelia Roussel (Elodie Yung), who he is certain was behind the hit on his client.
A few years later, Amelia is working on the high-profile war crimes prosecution of a Belarusian dictator, Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman). One of the key witnesses against him is gun-for-hire Darius Kincaid (Jackson). Kincaid has agreed to testify on the condition that his wife, Sonia Kincaid (Salma Hayek), who is also in jail, is set free.
The plan to transport Darius from a jail in the U.K. goes wrong almost immediately. Terrorists working for Dukhovich intercept the security force moving Darius and soon Amelia finds herself alone with Darius. Since she’s not sure who to trust at Interpol, she calls Michael and offers him a return to his previous level of status (and income) if he can get Darius to The Hague. 
Naturally, Michael and Darius have history. In addition to the many times Darius has tried to off Michael and his clients, the two also have opposing work styles. The orderly, plan-making Michael with doesn’t appreciate the take-situations-as-they-come Darius.
Setting aside the ick factor of a movie featuring violence in European cities as viewed during this particular moment in history, The Hitman’s Bodyguard is almost fine. Not good, not bad, just OK-fine. Almost. It has a workable structure, solid cast and a serviceable approach to pacing and tone. This movie was never going to be an Oscar winner or (please no) the start of a franchise but it feels like exactly what you’re looking for at the theater in late summer or on cable six months from now. That it doesn’t completely clear this low bar is, I think, due to the writing. The movie has the amount of funny right, maybe even the type of funny (though it leans a little too heavily on the idea that pretty ladies swearing bilingually is hilarious) but it just isn’t as funny as it needs to be. And while some of its energy comes from the fights and the (rather low budget) explosions, most of it has to come from the actors and their dialogue. The actors give this movie exactly the amount of effort it deserves but the writing doesn’t quite hit the mark. The comedy needs to be sharper, perhaps more self-aware (Samuel L. Jackson sells lines like “I am harm’s way” because the movie knows what we want to see from a Samuel L. Jackson character in a lightweight action movie) and definitely more lively and having a better time. 
All of this is to say that The Hitman’s Bodyguard does not live up to its potential, which, let’s be honest, was probably never all that much higher than being a C+ movie. As it is, we’re at a not horrible but not quite successful C.
Rated R for strong language and violence throughout. Directed by Patrick Hughes and written Tom O’Connor, The Hitman’s Bodyguard is an hour and 58 minutes long and distributed by Lionsgate Films.
 





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