The Hitman's Bodyguard (2017)

Midnight Gun

Director: Patrick Hughes
Running Time: 118 Minutes
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, Élodie Yung, Salma Hayek, Joaquim de Almeida, Kirsty Mitchell, Richard E. Grant, Sam Hazeldine

Where has the buddy action genre gone? Between 48 Hrs, Midnight Run and the Lethal Weapon films, it used to be a regular staple of cinema. As of late, the only entries really worth mentioning are 21 Jump Street and, another Shane Black film, The Nice Guys. It'd seem we're due for a revival, but don't expect it here, from such a humdrum and forgettable film.

Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) is a well regard bodyguard, considered Triple A rated. After a job ends in failure, he's left in disgrace, and has to get work protecting bottom of the rung clients, such as corporate executives addicted to drugs. After getting a call from his Interpol agent ex-girlfriend (Élodie Yung), he's assigned to protect infamous hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson). His mission? To escort Kincaid to The Hague, to testify against a blood thirsty dictator (Gary Oldman).

Image result for the hitman's bodyguard youtubeAfter the success of Deadpool, it's clear the studios want to capitalise on the success of Ryan Reynolds. Pairing him with star as beloved as Samuel L. Jackson is a shrewd move, but upon viewing the end result, one gets the impression little thought was put into other aspects of the film. Granted, the chemistry between the two clearly works, but it can only go so far when they're working with such weak material, and especially with such a lifeless plot.

Getting genuine laughs out of this feels like a Herculean task, especially if you've seen the first trailer, which showcases the best parts. Too much of it feels improvisational, as though it's a subpar attempt at a Judd Apatow comedy. Then there's the action scenes, which are brought alive in a pretty lazy manner., not helped by poor effects or the noticeable green screen, both of which take you out of the film. The sad matter of fact is that, be it in Tom O'Connor's script or Patrick Hughes' direction, there appears to be no ambition evident throughout.

Salma Hayek puts in a fun turn as Sonia, the foul mouthed and notorious wife of Jackson's character. Their on-screen romance is somewhat engaging, and a much more interesting pairing than the one between Reynolds and Élodie Yung. What the latter two deliver is completely by the numbers, and has been done better a multitude of times. Then we have Gary Oldman, slumming it for the paycheck. He puts on a cartoonish accent in an attempt to cover up how he's sleepwalking through the role, but it's far from effective.

The first trailer left the impression this would be a fun take on the 1992 film, The Bodyguard. If only it followed through on that promise. Instead, The Hitman's Bodyguard tries to get by on the charisma of its stars, but this cannot compensate for the lacklustre and uninspired material.

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