The Hitman’s Bodyguard was a Tepid and Unoriginal Comedy [Review]
The Hitman’s Bodyguard
Directed by Patrick Hughes
Written by: Tom O’Connor
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, Salma Hayek, Élodie Yung, Joaquim de Almeida, Kirsty Mitchell, Richard E. Grant
Running time 118 minutes
Rated R for strong violence and language throughout
Release date: August 18, 2017 (USA)
The world’s top protection agent is called upon to guard the life of his mortal enemy, one of the world’s most notorious hit men. The relentless bodyguard and manipulative assassin have been on the opposite end of the bullet for years and are thrown together for a wildly outrageous 24 hours. During their journey from England to the Hague, they encounter high-speed car chases, outlandish boat escapades and a merciless Eastern European dictator who is out for blood.
For an action comedy to succeed both the action and the comedy need to support each-other in takeoff and stick the landing. In the case of The Hitman’s Bodyguard, both elements worked independently of each-other, and both walked away from the landing with a limp. Working from a sub-par, unoriginal scrip the film relied entirely on the charisma and chemistry of leads Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds. While that charisma and chemistry were on point, any standout moments felt entirely off-script. The improvisation of Jackson and Reynolds may have been the only way to inject any solid comic moments into this thoroughly banal tropish film. It was evident that Jackson and Reynolds were having fun much of the time, while that was fun to watch it was incongruous with the rest of the movie as the plot slogged through each foreseeable and unsurprising beat. Already, less than 24 hours after leaving the theatre, I am struggling to recall any unique elements of The Hitman’s Bodyguard. At least twice now I have checked my notes, and the film information sheet to make sure I am not attributing anything to the wrong film. I must conclude that screenwriter Tom O’Connor and director Patrick Hughes have only ever watched their own movies, of which there are few.
Given the current state of the news I was genuinely hoping for a comedy that could alleviate some of the stress I am sure countless Americans are feeling. That is not what I found, I did not walk from the movie theatre feeling better, I did not laugh deeply, and I did not feel anything exciting or particularly moving. If the objective behind The Hitman’s Bodyguard was to create an uplifting and exciting comedic escape, that goal was not obtained. If the goal was to create jobs, give actors another screen credit, and pad resumes, then achievement unlocked, because that is the only real value I can find in The Hitman’s Bodyguard.