Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Elodie Yung
Director: Patrick Hughes
Running Time: 118 mins
The Hitman’s Bodyguard is an American film about an ace bodyguard who is called up by Interpol to accompany a hitman from Manchester all the way to The Hague in just 27 hours, when he is due to give a vital testimony against the brutal dictator of Belarus, but the journey doesn’t go quite so smoothly.
This film is a lot of fun to watch. Although it’s not in the upper echelons of action comedy, it’s a consistently entertaining and rapid-paced movie complete with two excellent central performances from Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, making it great popcorn fun from start to finish. Its story may not be the most gripping, and its finale may drag on, but The Hitman’s Bodyguard is a simple and well-executed blockbuster, and that’s why you can easily sit back and relax for two hours.
There’s a lot about this movie to enjoy, but I think what really makes it work is the acting. Ryan Reynolds has proved time and again that he can be a very entertaining comedy lead, while Samuel L. Jackson is pretty much unstoppable on his day. Now, this film doesn’t showcase the greatest the duo have to offer, but they do look like they’re having a lot of fun on what is effectively a road trip across Britain and the Netherlands, with the odd burst of massive action from time to time.
Both Reynolds and Jackson are fantastic in all of the action sequences, and despite mostly excelling when it comes to delivering light-hearted laughs and a buddy movie vibe, they bring a good bit of seriousness and strength to some properly violent action.
And that leads me into the other part of this movie that really surprised me: the action sequences. Largely pretty slick and well-directed throughout, the action is a lot of fun to watch, while the fact that it is a little bit more violent than your typical PG-13 action fare (believe me, there’s a lot of blood and some pretty strong fight sequences) makes it feel that little bit less plastic, and with a slightly higher level of seriousness when it comes to the action, it’s far easier to get all the more engrossed in whatever madness is going on in front of you.
Now, that’s not to say that the action is completely foolproof. As entertaining as it is on the whole, the final act does drag things out a little too much, effectively closing the film with what feels like forty or so minutes of constant crashes and explosions, without really ever giving you a minute to breathe, something that frustrated me a little going towards the end.
As a result, the story does suffer to a degree when the action is a little too much. Overall, the plot isn’t particularly intricate, and you can see the final outcome a mile off, but what the story does do on occasion is give you some genuinely engaging backstory for the two lead characters, something that I was very impressed by in a movie of this calibre.
They’re not emotionally riveting back stories, but they do play a big part in allowing you to care more about the two leads as characters, rather than just big action heroes, and that’s something you don’t see all that often from the genre. Unfortunately, however, the film runs into a bit of a wall in the final act when it has to pick between emotion and action, and strays heavily towards the action side, overshadowing some of the quieter and more intelligent scenes with all of the explosions, something that disappointed me given how well the film had worked in that respect up to that point.
Overall, I had good fun with The Hitman’s Bodyguard. It’s not an incredible film, but with two properly entertaining central performances, good action and some surprisingly effective emotional drama, it’s an enjoyable watch all the way through, even if it does go a little overboard come the end, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.2.