Starring: Kevin Costner, Whitney Houston, Gary Kemp
Director: Mick Jackson
Running Time: 129 mins
The Bodyguard is an American film about a battle-hardened bodyguard who is hired to protect an up-and-coming popstar, but soon sees his work derailed as he grows closer to the client.
A totally melodramatic and seemingly inconsequential story at first, The Bodyguard overcomes a terrible opening act to deliver a really rather entertaining watch come the end. It’s not as emotionally captivating as you might hope, but with a few good moments of action, as well an engaging quieter period in the middle, the film is ultimately perfectly harmless.
First things first, however, let’s get that awful opening act out of the way. In fact, more than just one act, it’s a full hour of fantastically boring romantic drama.
Seeming to set up protecting a young popstar like the fate of the world depends on it, the way that this movie takes itself so seriously is almost laughable in the opening stages, with Kevin Costner proving more of a moody lead than the focused and dedicated bodyguard he’s meant to be.
The peril that the movie brings in during the first hour is so unconvincing, and it only plays into what feels like a wholly melodramatic movie, with hyperbolic romance also coming into play, but doing nothing to really make the story any more interesting.
Costner and Whitney Houston don’t make the most dynamic couple, and the apparently ‘forbidden’ nature of their love story really doesn’t slide at any point The movie seems too obsessed with getting the two together in a romance before it feels earned, and that only adds to the frustration of watching what seems like a movie that plays everything way over the top.
However, about halfway through, things take a real upturn. The Bodyguard is never a masterpiece, but it really calms down as it moves into its later stages, before then hitting you with a well-earned action finale.
Settling down nicely with a much quieter middle period, the film no longer spends all its time trying to be exciting and melodramatic, but rather lets the actors and characters blossom a little more organically, which is far more engaging to watch.
Then, after taking a breath, the movie turns the dial up to 11 with a hugely entertaining action finale that still has the preposterous and hyperbolic stakes of the first act, but also now building on a little bit of character development that makes you care much more for the people on screen.
As terrible as The Bodyguard is early on, I had a whale of a time with it in the final act.
Finally, a word on the movie’s soundtrack, such is undoubtedly what it’s best known for. Of course, there’s no denying the brilliance of some of the now-classic songs here, and Whitney Houston’s voice is an utter joy to listen to.
However, the music generally doesn’t add much to the story, with most of the songs briefly ham-fisted in where possible before being cut off after about thirty seconds. The music is great to listen to on an album, but it does very little to enhance this movie.
Overall, then, The Bodyguard is a real mixed bag. Starting off in terrible form, it’s a melodramatic and completely unconvincing story in its first half, before settling down a little and letting things unfold more organically. And then it hits you with an equally preposterous but undeniably entertaining action finale. So, that’s why I’m giving The Bodyguard a 7.0.