What clearly happened when they cast the Hitman’s Bodyguard is that they asked Ryan Reynolds to play Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L Jackson to play Samuel L Jackson. Luckily, this is exactly what this film needs. It isn’t taking itself too seriously, it knows it’s strengths and completely plays to them.
The first is the chemistry between Reynolds and Jackson. Their characters hate each other and then as the movie progresses, come to respect one another. It isn’t new and has been done hundreds of times before but when these two are arguing and fighting you can’t help but smile. In fact, this film’s biggest strength is when the two actors are locked in a car together bickering. They can deliver lines with fantastic comic timing and this is no different.
They also know how to handle an action movie. They have villains to kill and explosions to survive and The Hitman’s Bodyguard offers car chases, shoot-outs and frantic action that you’d find in the best movies of the 90s. It feels like a throwback to classic buddy-movies like Lethal Weapon and wears it’s influences on it’s sleeve.
It is also very funny. Not just Jackson and Reynolds but their support from actors like Salma Hayek and Richard E Grant help proceedings. It is just a shame that not everyone gets the same amount of screen time or worth for their role as Gary Oldman feels wasted. Oldman is playing the usual “rent-a-villain” here and he does so effortlessly but it shows, with him shouting and intimidating his way through a pedestrian role.
That is the major and only real complaint from The Hitman’s Bodyguard; nobody is trying because they just don’t have to. This film is pure entertainment without any responsibility or effort and although that isn’t necessarily a criticism it does show when we reach a finale which is damp and predictable. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want to see a sequel though.
Overall, The Hitman’s Bodyguard is a great example of what makes Samuel L Jackson and Ryan Reynolds so appealing. It is funny, action-packed and plays to the two actor’s strengths with great effect. Some actors get short-changed (Oldman) and it won’t be remembered in years to come but it is entertaining.
Rating – 3.5
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)