The Hitman’s Bodyguard

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The Hitman's Bodyguard

The Hitman’s Bodyguard Full Movie

Country: United States
Year: 2017
Category: action, comedy
Release Date: 17 August , 2017
Director: Patrick Hughes
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman
Age Restriction: 18 years
Duration: 118 minutes
Budget: $180,000,000

The Hitman’s Bodyguard is a 2017 American horror-mystery thriller film directed by David F. Sandberg and written by Gary Dauberman Are you a fan of Ryan Reynolds’ deadpan, quip-a-minute style? Can you never get enough of Samuel L. Jackson’s poetic delivery of profane one-liners? Then you, dear reader, are in luck. The Hitman’s Bodyguard is an old-fashioned action movie, owing a considerable debt to the genre’s 1980s heyday, disguised only slightly by its European setting. It’s exactly what it says on the label, which usually works in its favor, except when it doesn’t.

Ryan Reynolds is Michael Bryce, a former elite bodyguard (ahem “executive protection agent”) down on his luck after losing a high-profile client to an assassin. Samuel L. Jackson is Darius Kincaid, a world class assassin doing time for any number of crimes, who is offered a deal to testify against a deposed Eastern European dictator (Gary Oldman) during his trial for war crimes at The Hague (this movie does nothing by half measures). When Interpol drops the ball on getting Darius to court, the job lands in the lap of Bryce, setting the pair off on a series of odd couple action/comedy mishaps. Of course they can’t stand each other.

Reynolds and Jackson certainly aren’t exactly stretching themselves here, but they sure are having fun, and that forgives a number of sins. When Ryan Reynolds is, essentially, the straight man in the action/comedy equation, that should give you an idea of how far into the stratosphere his partner is taking things. But you can’t fault Samuel L. Jackson for clearly having the time of his life, especially not when he and Reynolds make for such an effective bickering pair of action heroes. I can no longer tell when Gary Oldman is mailing in a performance in movies like this, and his one-note dictator/background villain doesn’t get enough screen time to matter. Elodie Yung holds her own as Bryce’s ex-girlfriend, a capable Interpol operative who he nonetheless holds a grudge against. The only supporting player who isn’t completely eclipsed by the Jackson/Reynolds antics is Salma Hayek as Sonia Kincaid, Darius’ hilariously foul-mouthed, abrasive, and tough wife (and the only reason Darius agrees to testify in the first place).

In an age of superheroes, giant robots, collapsing buildings, and ever more ridiculous explosions, the relative simplicity of this movie’s approach almost seems quaint, but instead it’s refreshing. The action, which is capably handled by director Patrick Hughes (best known for the regrettable The Expendables 3), rarely slows down in any case, builds to an intentionally ridiculous crescendo as it barrels into the home stretch. There are two inventively staged sequences, one an outdoor fiasco glimpsed in the trailers and the other a brutal, claustrophobic fight in a hardware store. Both are great fun, and aided even more by Reynolds’ considerable comic timing.

While the parallels to any number of 1980s action movies are unavoidable (and certainly intentional) the one thing I kept coming back to during my viewing was something else entirely: Looney Tunes. The violence, especially in the final act, takes on a gleeful, Chuck Jones quality, and it fully embraces the absurdity of every situation and there’s a point where each action scene is more madcap than the last. Think of Reynolds and Jackson as the action movie equivalent of Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, respectively. Just substitute “motherfucker” for “meep-meep” and you’re halfway there.

Somehow, The Hitman’s Bodyguard manages to turn most of its weaknesses into strengths. Not even a twist that wouldn’t surprise the blind or the most ridiculous and literal ticking clock climax in recent cinematic memory can ruin the fun. When Darius takes a bullet in the knee within minutes of his introduction and then careens around the rest of the movie like it’s as mild an inconvenience as an ingrown toenail, well, that can’t be chalked up to anything other than an acute awareness of exactly the kind of ridiculousness that the script (by Tom O’Connor) set out to achieve. To be safe, and for further 1980s authenticity, they should have trimmed about 10 minutes out and brought it in at a far more lean and mean 90-100 minutes.

Revealed that by following the advice given by director Robert Rodriguez, who offered him his first film opportunity, not to use doubles in his films to earn the respect of his colleagues by profession, has now had strong repercussions on his health.

“I’ve always done my own action scenes because the first time I worked with Robert made me feel that if I did not do it, people would look at me very badly in this business. Of course, that’s not the case, but that’s what I thought. Robert is crazy, he always wants to do everything himself. If he could, he would shoot the risky scenes for his actors. You have too much energy. And so it makes you feel bad if you do not do the same thing, “Salma Hayek said in an interview on the website Den of Geek.

August has finally arrived at the cinema, the awkward phase of the year where studios have to release something between the big, brassy summer blockbusters and the contemplative winter Oscar fare. The Hitman’s Bodyguard, with all its feigned personality and complete lack of polish, is the ur-August movie – a sloppy crowd-pleaser with phoned-in performances by two A-listers happy to spend a few weeks in Europe with their stuntmen. It may keep your easy-to-please dad occupied, but for the rest of us, it’s an excruciating two hours at the movies.

Let’s be honest: you don’t care what the plot of The Hitman’s Bodyguard is. No one does, from the people who made the film to the people who might actually enjoy it. Story-wise, it’s a Mad Libs of every lazy action film of the past twenty years, with a sniveling Eastern European dictator (Gary Oldman, cowering in a hotel room for most of the film), armies of bearded henchmen with vans and machine guns, and a pair of unlikely heroes who need to get to X place by Y time to save the day and get their girls.

Forget about what happens in the movie; you and I and the filmmakers know it’s just an excuse to throw Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson in a car with a blue-screen background to bicker with each other for cheap laughs. Reynolds plays a down-on-his-luck bodyguard tasked with bringing Jackson, a veteran hitman/star witness in Oldman’s war crimes trial, to The Hague to give testimony at the International Criminal Court. Reynolds is meticulous and by-the-book, except when he’s paradoxically a reckless loudmouth; Jackson (whose character name is, no kidding, Darius Kincaid) is a reckless loudmouth 100% of the time, working on instinct and haranguing Reynolds for not letting him “do his thang.” This dynamic is clearly meant to evoke the buddy action comedies that The Hitman’s Bodyguard shamelessly rips off (48 Hours, Lethal Weapon), but Reynolds and Jackson can’t overcome the weak, repetitive gags they’re saddled with. The central joke (what if a bodyguard protected someone who didn’t need protecting?) wears thin after the first dozen times it’s told, leaving little else for the film to hold onto.

The fact that Reynolds and Jackson fail to pep up this movie with their repartee is the truest failing of The Hitman’s Bodyguard. When utilized well, they’ve both done great work even in this kind of disposable action picture; hell, Jackson is one of his generation’s most celebrated actors, and a fine action star in his own right. Here, they’re just lazily playing to their types – Reynolds as the sarcastic smartass, Jackson the boisterous showman. Jackson’s role is especially egregious, his dialogue seemingly written by someone who wrote it for the Oscar nominee, but hasn’t seen any of his performances beyond Snakes on a Plane.

All this could be forgiven if the movie were funny, or the action compelling. Unfortunately, neither of these come to pass. The film never manages to tell a joke, but arrogantly maintains the air of a comedy – rather than inventive gags with actual punchlines, it struggles to keep you energized with a zippy tone and invincible characters who remain far too glib about their situation. It relies on you remembering that Samuel L. Jackson famously likes to say “motherfucker” and “bitch, please” a lot, and that swearing is inherently funny, to deliver the laughs. Director Patrick Hughes (The Expendables 3) has a little fun with some of the action scenes later in the film, but by then he’s pissed away so much of your goodwill that even the sight of a car getting hit mid-jump by a Mack truck fails to impress. One brief hand-to-hand fight between Reynolds and a goon as they battle their way through a restaurant kitchen and a hardware store offers the film’s only glimmer of invention.

These criticisms are made only worse by the film’s two-hour runtime, which strains under the weight of its added subplots and a parade of vestigial characters. Despite the sole reason for the film’s existence being Jackson and Reynolds’ attempted buddy act, the screenplay keeps throwing you boring scenes of bickering Interpol officers, or Salma Hayek (vastly underused here) shouting profanities from a jail cell, or countless flashbacks designed to deliver maximum exposition for the main characters.

The film’s attempts at pathos are equally aggravating, jerking away from scenes of lighthearted banter to flashbacks of literal war crimes and racial violence in the space of five minutes. For a film ostensibly supposed to offer a distraction from the world for two hours, The Hitman’s Bodyguard evokes imagery of recent European terror attacks and Jim Crow hate crimes far more often than it justifies. Seeing Sam Jackson kick a bad guy off a roof thirty seconds after an exploding bus kills a crowd of protesters outside the International Criminal Court is an especially mean-spirited moment in the film’s already messy climax. (The film’s marketing, which offers the tone-deaf tagline “Get Triggered,” is another clue to its awkward handling of the current political climate.)

Much of The Hitman’s Bodyguard is so lazily written, and so haphazardly assembled, that one can’t help but wish that lack of effort had extended to shortening the film’s runtime – that way, at least everyone could leave the theater faster. Reynolds and Jackson, the lynchpins of the film’s appeal, aren’t given anything funny to do, and the action beats are too few and far between to wallpaper over the film’s numerous problems. Even worse, all of this is overlaid with the most obnoxious, incessant musical score in recent memory, and Hughes and crew run the joke of “ironic easy-listening song played over displays of intense violence” into the ground to the point that you’ll never want to see it again.

Put simply, The Hitman’s Bodyguard is the Fuddruckers of movies: obnoxious, filled with kitschy music, and only digestible to the most undiscerning palates.

Like Gary Oldman channeling his old “Air Force One” gig as an Eastern European baddie. Like a chase scene — via foot, motorcycle, motorboat and automobile — that goes on forever without going anywhere. Or an endlessly extended fight in a garage (watch out for that nail gun).

The director’s last credit was “The Expendables 3,” so it’s no shock he prefers scenic locations and big-bang action sequences. There are trips across London, the Netherlands, Mexico and Eastern Europe. There are gun battles and fist fights, explosions and helicopter crashes.

Updated: August 19, 2017 — 2:59 pm

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