Review: The Hitman's Bodyguard

August 18, 2017
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It’s been well documented on my show that I think Ryan Reynolds is golden god who can do no wrong.  He’s no George Clooney but no mortal can be.  Reynolds has always managed to capture a flawless physical physique while still maintaining a down-to-earth and genuinely funny charisma that makes men enjoy him as much women.  I don’t care if this comes across gay and never have…the man is the total package.  However, until last year’s Deadpool, I was always on the fence about whether or not Reynolds could pull off a convincing action star.  What put me even more on the fence was Samuel L. Jackson as an action star.  Shockingly, The Hitman’s Bodyguard proves that both can actually kick ass while making you laugh in ways that we haven’t seen since Bad Boys.

Director Patrick Hughes is someone that doesn’t get the credit he deserves.  It’s true that he directed The Expendables 3 (also known as the unwatchable one) but before that he made an indie modern western called Red Hill that was really quite good.  Ever since I saw that I was wondering when someone would give Hughes a chance with a real big budget.  Sadly, that chance came but it was in the form of The Hitman’s Bodyguard.  I don’t say that because it’s not a good film; I say it because Red Hill was beautiful and gritty and The Hitman’s Bodyguard is the Hollywood paint-by-number action-comedy that we’ve had since the ‘80s.  It doesn’t attempt to break any new ground and is very comfortable being cheesy and dumb, which is fine but for someone less skilled that Hughes.

The comedy duo of Jackson and Reynolds doesn’t make any sense.  That’s not to say that they’re not effective and funny but it’s weird to tell this story that could have starred two younger performers but instead has a 69-year-old Jackson (yes, he’s almost 70 years old) fighting like he’s Jason Bourne in what are obvious body doubles for the fight scenes.  But you didn’t come for the action, right?  You came for the comedy.  At least that’s how the film was marketed.  Well, the comedy just barely falls short of the hype.  Both Reynolds and Jackson are funny guys who have slayed comedy before and they play off of each other well, but there are about a quarter of the jokes that don't stick the landing and end up making scenes feel long and uncomfortable.

So despite the comedy being a bit of a letdown, the action more than makes up for it.  One thing that was shocking was how elaborate, intense, bloody, and exciting the action sequences are.  There is one fight scene in a hardware store that legitimately blew me away in how imaginative it is and how it appears to be all done in one long take.  The international setting makes for some creative and gorgeous chase scenes that are totally impractical and impossible but fun as hell to behold.  If the marketing had balanced the focus on action and comedy, The Hitman’s Bodyguard wouldn’t feel like it fell short of expectations despite exceeding them in many areas.  Oh yeah, and you get to the always-incredible Gary Oldman play a ruthless baddie too.