Saturday, December 02, 2017

The Hitman's Bodyguard: A Thrill Ride, But Alas, It Can't Be for Everyone

Movie Review: The Hitman's Bodyguard (2017)
Version: Library borrow

I thought The Hitman's Bodyguard is supposed to be a comedy. You might say there are humorous moments, but it is more a trash-talking spy movie than a comedy, and with f-bombs a prominent feature, it definitely isn't something the whole family can watch. What's interesting is, Samuel L. Jackson is famous for using the f-bomb, but it is Salma Hayek playing his wife in this film who does most of the f-bombing.

In any other instance, The Hitman's Bodyguard would be a decent spy film. Ryan Reynolds plays Michael Bryce, a former CIA agent who turns freelance "Triple-A" bodyguard who loses his top-tier rating when someone he was guarding is killed at the last moment. Two years later, he finds himself called in by Amelia Roussel (played by Elodie Yung), his former and angry girl friend, to guard Darius Kincaid (played by Samuel L Jackson), the one man who can provide evidence to convict Belarusian dictator Vladislav Dukhovich (played by Gary Oldman) at the World Court at The Hague in The Netherlands. From the get-go, Bryce and Kincaid are at odds, Kincaid the guy who can't be killed and Bryce the guy who lacks self-confidence, although it's obvious he is talented and skilled. And from the get-go, Dukhovich's organization of henchmen is after Kincaid to keep him from testifying. The World Court has 27 hours for Kincaid to arrive and provide testimony, so the story is the struggle for Bryce to keep him alive long enough to testify, while Kincaid struggles to keep Bryce from getting in his way.

Meanwhile, Bryce has a personal struggle trying to repair his failed relationship with Roussel while Kincaid, seemingly a person with failed personal morals, tries to give him worldly advice about love and relationships. The stories of how the two met the loves of their lives is very interestingly told, and it turns out Kincaid has a very passionate and agile wife, while Bryce has a very passionate and righteous wife. This is a side story on its own worth seeing.

What makes for humor in The Hitman's Bodyguard is the give-and-take between Bryce and Kincaid, mostly given to Jackson's usual on-film character persona. It's almost as if the film were written around that persona. If it weren't for that, this film would be a straight out action film, and there are loads of action, which is actually the fun part of the film. The final third action sequences through the streets, alleys, and canals of Amsterdam are must-see sequences of stunt work!

Ryan Reynolds's laid back charm is a good counter to Samuel L Jackson's smooth-talking grit. They make a good pairing for this otherwise strained twosome. There's a great scene where Bryce gives up in frustration and sits at a bar talking to the bartender about his untenable situation while chaos runs amok around him, gun fire raging, cars crashing, people flying, bombs bursting, buildings crumbling, tables splintering, the bartender disappearing before his eyes behind the bar for safety, and Bryce barely blinking an eye. In the distance, Kincaid is fighting off several dozen bad guys on his own, tearing down the street in the background. It's a great scene.

But the final action sequence steals the cake, with the countdown to Bryce and Kincaid working in unison trying to get into the World Court within the last few seconds, just in time. And even then, it isn't over.

This isn't just any action movie. Not by a long shot. And it isn't a comedy. Not by a long shot. It's too bad it's laced with f-bombs, because I think otherwise kids could enjoy the thrill ride that The Hitman's Bodyguard is, too.

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