a THE HITMAN'S BODYGUARD musing
In the vein of classic 80’s buddy action movies, THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD unites Deadpool and Nick Fury, sorry, Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson in a fun but middling action romp. Their chemistry and playful nature makes their scenes entertaining, but nothing else in the movie works as well as their relationship does. And that only works because both actors are pretty much playing themselves, or at least the versions of themselves that the audience loves so much. The movie can’t match that energy (although it tries its damnedest with cinematography where every color pops off the screen) as it devolves into boring action scenes with secondary characters who are neither funny nor interesting at all.
Apparently this script was a 2011 Black List screenplay, meaning that it was one the top unproduced scripts, but as a drama, where the story fits that mold much more snugly. This version of BODYGUARD could have been a nice tight, taut thriller. The version we got tries to match the comedic heights and over-the-top comedy with action so cartoonish that it no longer becomes interesting nor effective. None of the comedy is dialed back for dramatic beats, so those moments don’t get you caring for any of the characters; you only like people because of the actors playing them. Salma Hayek is somehow more over-the-top than Reynolds and Jackson, while Gary Oldman gets to sneer in an unintelligible accent and not be intimidating as he literally does nothing.
This movie coasts on the explosive chemistry of Reynolds (who at least tries to be empathetic and somewhat succeeds in building a semblance of a character) and Jackson, while literally failing at everything else. The action is surprisingly unimpressive until we get to an inspired final chase in the Netherlands, as our two leads race to get to the Hague. THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD struggles to keep things interesting and culminates in a movie that’s meant to be on TNT in the background on a Sunday afternoon.
RATING: WHY DID I WATCH THIS?
(Refer to my rating system HERE!)