“You’ve got a speck of blood on your… everywhere.”
Directed by: Patrick Hughes
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, Salma Hayek, Élodie Yung
Synopsis: At the International Court of Justice Gary Oldman’s murderous dictator Vladislav Dukhovich is standing trial. Professional hitman Darius Kincaid (Jackson) has the evidence that can see him locked away for good. But he’s going to need help from Ryan Reynold’s triple A rated bodyguard Michael to get there. The only problem being that Kincaid has tried to kill him twenty-eight times previously.
Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds make for a sharp version of the classic movie odd couple. In the spirit of early doors Riggs (Mel Gibson) and Murtaugh (Danny Glover) in Lethal Weapon, or The Nice Guys‘ Jackson (Russell Crowe) and Holland (Ryan Gosling) they butt heads before teaming up to take on a greater threat, with hijinks and bonding ensuing along the way. It’s The Nice Guys in particular which The Hitman’s Bodyguard shares the most DNA with; think of it as its potty-mouthed, less creative younger sibling.
This is a no nonsense streamlined actioner, fuelled entirely by testosterone. The straight and narrow approach keeps things zipping along at a tasty pace, but leaves little room for anything particularly out of the ordinary when it comes to the villain (Gary Oldman’s wonkily accented dictator Vladislav), nor with the trope-filled score and structure. But what it does do is allow the film to focus on the big action set pieces. Expect violence. Bloody violence. Fun violence. And in the case of Salma Hayek’s bizarrely written Sonia, weirdly sexualised violence.
Where it excels the most though is in the pairing of the leads. Reynolds is on charismatic form and Jackson is at peak Jackson levels (I lost count of the number of times he dropped an angry F-bomb in that way that only he can). If you don’t enjoy either of their schticks, this isn’t going to convince you otherwise. If you do, however, it’ll likely be right up your alley.
Rating (out of 5):