I wasn’t sure what to make of The Hitman’s Bodyguard when I first saw the poster. Movies which try to squeeze some comedy out of two people being thrown together who don’t really like each other generally tend to suck. But then I saw the trailer, which made it look entertaining and worth a watch. However, if it hadn’t been for the fact that I was away on holiday last week I may well have read some of the early negative reviews and thought about giving it a miss. Luckily though, I was on holiday, I didn’t read any reviews and I ended up watching one of the funniest action packed movies I’ve seen in a while.
Ryan Reynolds is Michael Bryce, a ‘Triple-A’ bodyguard with a hot girlfriend, nice house, nice car and a smart suit. He likes to make sure that the protection of his clients runs like clockwork (boring is best, as he likes to remind his team!). So when things go badly wrong on a job, Bryce suddenly finds himself way back down the ladder when it comes to landing quality bodyguard roles. Consequently, his expensive lifestyle takes a big hit and we join him 2 years down the line, unshaven and peeing into a bottle while sitting in his beat up car before heading into a job.
Meanwhile, Samuel L Jackson is Darius Kincaid, a hitman being escorted by Interpol from Manchester to testify in Holland at The Hague. The man he is testifying against is warlord Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman, suitably evil). A nasty piece of work determined to take out anyone with the potential to put him behind bars. So when the escort accompanying Kincaid takes a hit, it becomes clear that someone in Interpol has been leaking their route, and Bryce ends up landing the role of escorting Kincaid for the rest of his trip to The Netherlands. Turns out though that Bryce and Kincaid have history, with Kincaid nearly killing Bryce on 28 previous occasions, so their initial meeting doesn’t go too well. Eventually the pair reach enough of an understanding so that they can head out on the road together, down through the English countryside. It’s their constant bickering on this road trip that then provides a lot of the humour for the movie. Bryce is pretty particular when it comes to how smoothly these things should be handled, whereas Kincaid just likes to get things done and screw the consequences. The word ‘motherfucker’ gets used to great effect A LOT by Jackson (as Bryce puts it, “This guy single-handedly ruined the word ‘motherfucker’”) and Bryce continues to be frustrated and amazed at just how ‘un-killable’ Kincaid appears to be.
It’s not very long before the bad guys are on their tail though, leading to a succession of more and more complex action sequences. These hit a real high when everyone reaches The Netherlands, with an exciting chase through the streets and canals of Amsterdam kicking things off nicely. The only complaint with this, and the rest of the action in the movie, is that there does appears to be a never ending supply of bad guys lining up to take them out. Just when you think we’re down to the final few, another wave of vehicles appears, all full of weapon waving maniacs! I loved all of the action in the movie, but because of this it does constantly run the risk of seeming a little too dragged out. It’s a very fine line.
Before I forget, a special mention to Salma Hayek who stars as the wife of Kincaid. Despite being locked in a cell for the entire movie, she gets more than her fair share of funny lines and action, mainly in flashbacks where we get to see just how much of a foul mouthed bad ass she really is. Taking no crap from anyone, she’s brilliant.
Although there’s nothing really here that hasn’t been done before, it was the brilliant double act of Reynolds and Jackson that really made this worth seeing for me. That, along with the hugely entertaining action sequences. Judging by other reviews though, I think it’s just my taste in these movies that’s different from most others. I actually hated last years ‘The Nice Guys’, while everyone else seemed to love it so I guess I’m just going to be in the minority when it comes to this movie too!