Two renegade, maverick, lovable rogue types must overcome the urge to kill each other in order to kill a bunch of dudes, all in order to stop some other people being killed and ensure a bad guy is brought to justice for killing heaps of people. Oh and they’ve both got to win back their better halves in the process, too.
It’s a remarkably familiar set-up, but enjoyably so – nobody is going to see a movie like this for an original plot and, to be honest, I wish there was more of this sort of thing being made.
Action-wise, The Hitman’s Bodyguard is certainly not giving John Wick or The Raid a run for their money, but there’s a lot of inventiveness and a nice rhythm to the unrelenting mayhem that means it’s consistently entertaining. It’s more in the comedy bits, the scenes without explosions and gunfights, that things can be a little ho-hum.
Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson are both great, but aren’t great together. They both look to be enjoying the shit out of themselves and are endearing enough, but they lack the magical chemistry that makes some buddy action movies so beloved. Salma Hayek doesn’t have many scenes to work with, but has more fun than anyone else in the movie with her amazingly foul-mouthed role that called to mind Susie from Curb Your Enthusiasm. Special mention must also be made for using Lionel Richie’s ‘Hello’ during a ridiculously violent bar fight, a truly inspired song placement.
What I like most about The Hitman’s Bodyguard is that it’s a reasonably back-to-basics, R-rated flick that’s come entirely from a screenwriter’s mind rather than some pre-existing intellectual property. It’s a refreshingly bog-standard buddy action-comedy that’s engaging throughout, even when it’s dropping the ball.