“The Hitman’s Bodyguard:” a misfire of a buddy cop comedy


Ryan Reynolds plays bodyguard Michael Bryce, a bodyguard tasked with protecting a notorious hitman, Darius Kincaid, played by Samuel L. Jackson The film won the Aug. 18 box office weekend with a $21.4 million opening.



On paper, this film is the quintessential summer flick. It offers two charismatic leads with great chemistry, a protect-at-all-costs storyline and action scenes sprinkled throughout the film.

However, with a summer so chock-full of high-brow fare, from “Baby Driver” to “Wonder Woman,” the film doesn’t hold up against the competition. Like the classic ‘80s buddy cop films that it pays homage to, “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” is out of date and out of its league.

But this isn’t to say that the film doesn’t have some admirable qualities to it.

Of course, its best quality is in its two leads. Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson seem to be at the top of their careers, and their shared comedic chemistry plays strongly throughout the film.

Reynolds plays Michael Bryce, a “Triple A-rated executive protection agent,” fallen from grace after a client is murdered in front of him. He has a shot at redemption when he is tasked with protecting a hitman, Darius Kincaid, played by Jackson.

In exchange for his testimony on a dictator’s crimes, Kincaid’s wife, Sonia (Salma Hayek), will be released from prison.

Fleeing the dictator’s henchmen, the two fight to make their way to the International Court of Justice in Netherlands, while unintentionally offering the best tourism ad for eastern Europe that I’ve ever seen.

The amount of profanity that is exchanged between the two leads me to believe the screenwriter was actually paid per f-bomb. But these expletives don’t substitute for real comedy, and the film could’ve done itself a favor by offering up more inventive gags.

This film is billed as an action-comedy, and in the action department there are still mixed results. The cameras shooting the fight scenes and car chases looked as if they were being operated during an earthquake. But some real action spectacle does come into play with the third act of the film, particularly with Reynolds’ character and his fight choreography.

As for the rest of the cast – the work put forward is sub-par, especially with Gary Oldman’s European dictator. The character is rather one dimensional and fails to capture any real attention on screen even with his record of human rights violations.

It was disappointing to see the film’s female characters utilized so poorly. The two most prominent female characters, Sonia Kincaid and Amelia Roussel (Elodie Yung), only act as love interests for the two leads.

Elodie Yung’s character is first introduced in the film as a competent agent for Interpol, but is quickly undermined and requires constant assistance from Reynolds’ character.

However, such mistakes could be expected from director Patrick Hughes. His previous directing credit was for the third “Expendables” film, a disaster that couldn’t even be saved by the likes of Sylvester Stallone and Harrison Ford.

With the summer winding down, the “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” is overall an underwhelming end for the season. Save your wallet the price of admission – this film is more of a rental.