Movie review: Reynolds, Jackson lift 'Hitman's Bodyguard'

Fred Hawson

Posted at Aug 27 2017 06:14 PM

Ryan Reynolds was so bad as "Green Lantern" (2011) that he became one of my least favored Hollywood actors since then. However, he redeemed himself pretty well as "Deadpool" (2016), so I guess he is an actor who is only as good as his director or script. While we are waiting for the next Deadpool film set for release next year, Reynolds is back with another fast-talking violent action-comedy combo film. 

Vladislav Dukhovich is the megalomaniac dictator of Belarus who is now facing trial for genocide at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands. In Manchester, England, it is known that an incarcerated hitman Darius Kincaid possesses vital evidence to convict Dukhovich. So, Interpol assigns its agent Amelia Roussel to escort Kincaid to give his key testimony. 

When their group is ambushed en route by Dukhovich minions, Rousell and Kincaid are able to escape. Not knowing who to trust, Roussel contacts her ex-boyfriend, disgraced bodyguard Michael Bryce, to be the one to bring Kincaid safely to court before the announced deadline. Turns out the two men hate each other's guts because of the many times their paths crossed before in previous jobs.

Ryan Reynolds stars as Michael Bryce, a bodyguard who is very calculated and fastidious in the discharge of his duty. Obsessed with planning ahead and double checking all details, his motto is "Boring is better." His professional reputation sunk to low depths after an important client got killed, and this likewise affected his personal life with agent Roussel. This type of failed flawed sad-sack character really suits Reynolds' personality.

The ubiquitous Samuel L. Jackson stars as Darius Kincaid, a badass assassin who had a notoriety for being "unkillable." In stark contrast with Bryce, Kincaid is rash, reckless impetuous. He lives for the moment, and believes he is the better person for killing bad people unlike Bryce who protects them. As he was as Jules Winnfield in "Pulp Fiction" (1994), Jackson can do this outlandish role blindfolded and tied behind his back, and still be quite credible about it.

The banter between Reynolds and Jackson, dripping with sarcasm and profanity, is such a fun riot. The comic chemistry between these two guys was really so good. You'd be awed with all their impossible but nevertheless breathtaking action scenes together, especially that one with them running all over the streets and canals of Amsterdam while being chased by the Belorussians and Interpol. The more quiet moments between them talking about life and love also had its own charm.

Selma Hayek in a special role as Kincaid's similarly violent wife Sonia really ripped through her scenes with impressive comic timing. That flashback scene about the night Darius met Sonia was so bloody, sexy and funny. Elodie Yung as Amelia Roussel is a pretty sight, but she was not given much to do even if it felt like she had more screen time than Hayek. Gary Oldman is Gary Oldman, he simply disappears into any character he played, this time as the hateful Dukhovich. 

The central topic of a megalomaniac president who believes he can do whatever he will with his countrymen may hit close to home for certain politically inclined viewers. Anyhow, the way director Patrick Hughes did the action scenes were really over-the-top crazy with incredibly frenetic execution. That, along with the charismatic partnership of Reynolds and Jackson, made this film very entertaining and fun to watch. 7/10

This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."