There is a scene in The Hitman’s Bodyguard in which Ryan Reynolds character throws a frying pan directly at another mans head. The man proceeds to shake it off as if empty can of Pepsi had just hit him. Unfazed, the man then gets hit in the head with a hammer among several other blunt objects. I don’t ask for much when it comes to action. Especially in an action-comedy like The Hitman’s Bodyguard. Except, there is nothing funny, or entertaining about this movie. It’s the kind of film you have force yourself to take a bathroom break during, even if it’s unnecessary. If this film accomplishes anything, it’s that it reminds its viewers that they probably have something better to do.
With its on the nose title, The Hitman’s Bodyguard is about, you guessed it, a hitman, played by Samuel L. Jackson and his bodyguard, Ryan Reynolds. Security agent Michael Bryce (Reynolds) must get Darius Kincaid (Jackson) to the Hague so he can testify against a ruthless dictator played by the utterly wasted Gary Oldman. Bryce is recruited by a former girlfriend and Interpol agent Amelia, (Daredevil’s Elodie Yung) to escort Kincaid. And, wouldn’t you know it, the two have a history!
From the get go you know exactly where this is going. There is a mole in Interpol and from the mere introduction of the characters in the Interpol office, you know exactly who it is. Said mole, is in cahoots with Oldman’s macabre villain in order to kill Kincaid hence the need for a security detail.
This film is nothing more than a vehicle for Jackson to drop f-bombs at every chance and for him to be comedic version of every action character he’s ever played. Reynolds plays the unfittingly straight laced guy who lost his prestige as a bodyguard and is trying to get it back. Jackson and Reynolds have solid chemistry but even that isn’t enough to save this movie from being nothing but a waste of your time. To top it all off, Oldman’s atrociously cartoonish accent wears thin from the moment he opens his mouth.
For all the problems, chief among them is the film tonal inconsistencies. When we are first introduced to Oldman, the film takes a incredibly dark turn. From there on, jokes are fired at a nauseatingly unfunny rate before a big action set piece takes place. The action serves as nothing more than a segue to another dramatic tone shift. At least three times in the movie we are treated to a out of place flashback that supposed to add depth to the characters. However, the flashbacks are nothing more than a way to get laughs out of an excessively violent situation with some kind of a soft rock love song playing ironically.
The action is competently filmed, but it is dragged out to the point where it becomes tedious to watch. There is a really cool action sequence involving a boat in a canal in Amsterdam, but it goes on about five minutes too long. Ultimately, it leads to a totally ridiculous runtime that pushes two hours.
Besides Oldman, most of the performances are fine. There’s some comedy that hits. Most of it comes from an over the top, but serviceable turn from Salma Hayek. Hayek plays Kincaid’s incarcerated wife whose foul mouth does become tiresome after awhile due to the fact that cursing is the device used to elicit laughs from her character.
You don’t need to see this film. Even at discount night at your local theater, this one should be skipped. The constant sparring between the films two stars is sparsely entertaining but never enough to warrant a feature length film. At the end of the day, The Hitman’s Bodyguard is nothing more than an action packed version of the odd-couple cliche. There’s potential here, but the movie is nothing more than gratuitous waste of its talented stars.