An on-screen partnership between Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson in an action movie sounds like something that could be satisfying. In fact, that’s the only reason why I wanted to watch The Hitman’s Bodyguard. With both of them being able to display a great deal of personality, it makes you wonder why something like this didn’t happen sooner. And while I’m glad it finally happened, I also know that it could have been even better than it turned out.
After years of building a reputation as the world’s best protection agent, Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) is given the task of protecting Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) for 24 hours. Not only does Kincaid just happen to be the world’s most dangerous hitman, he’s also Bryce’s mortal enemy. This alone makes sure that the next day will be contentious, but the fact that a merciless dictator from Belarus (Gary Oldman) is out to terminate Kincaid makes their trip across Europe even more dangerous and combative.
With this being called The Hitman’s Bodyguard, you would expect the story to be based around Ryan Reynolds’ Michael Bryce more than anyone. It starts off with him as well, but the main character is unequivocally Samuel L. Jackson. As the soul of the movie, he seems to get the majority of the action along with most of the scenarios where we are finding the comedy. His character is dangerous, funny and lively all the way through. For the most part, this is what makes him the film’s true protagonist.
While we’re able to get Samuel L. Jackson starring as Samuel L. Jackson once again, we don’t really get that same approach from Reynolds. As Bryce, he’s basically playing somewhat of a straight man here. Although that works in some instances, The Hitman’s Bodyguard would have likely benefited from Reynolds not portraying such a toned down character. That’s not to say that he needed to be outrageous, but he could have portrayed the guy is playing as having more life.
Another key element in this picture comes to us in the form of love stories. Each of the two main characters has a story to tell about love, but only one of them really works. As you’ll see Samuel L. Jackson and Salma Hayek play husband and wife. Whenever their love life takes center stage, things role along and are enjoyable to watch. Both Mr. and Mrs. Kincaid prove to be a pair of crazy people with some serious issues who mesh well with the zany world that’s been created here.
On the other hand, the love story between the characters played by Reynolds and Elodie Yung does the exact opposite. Their scenes never fit and always feel out-of-place whenever they take over the screen. For some reason, they decided to include their story whenever we didn’t need filler and all we needed to do to was focus on what else was going on. Because of the way it’s continuously introduced to us, it feels rather forced and only serves to disrupt everything and take away from everything else that could be appealing.
Samuel L. Jackson prevents The Hitman’s Bodyguard from falling apart. It’s strange because I don’t think it was that far from succeeding as an insanely entertaining action comedy. I guess the problem is that it misses mainly due to the mishandling of Ryan Reynolds. Getting rid of his character’s romance and having him star as Ryan Reynolds to some degree could have likely done a lot in achieving that. Because they chose to go in a different direction, the film suffers more than it should.
Director: Patrick Hughes
Samuel L. Jackson
Joaquim De Almeida
Richard E. Grant
Film Length: 111 minutes
Release Date: August 18, 2017
- Score - 6/106/10