THE HITMAN'S BODYGUARD

★★

BATTLE FOR ALPHA MALE

THEATRICAL REVIEW
By Jess Fenton
27th August 2017

He’s said the word “motherfucker” so much in his career he’s now synonymous with it, while the other - well, he’s the coolest Marvel “hero” going around. Together they should be a glorious team of comedy, action and swearing, but instead it’s a fizzling battle between alpha males fighting to be seen as the funniest and the coolest. Bummer.

Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) is... was a AAA rated Executive Protection Agent until one of his clients kinda sorta got murdered right in front of him. Two years on from said incident, he’s now working for low-level scum lawyers and fraudsters to pay the bills. He also blames his ex-girlfriend and Interpol officer Amelia (Elodie Yung, TV's ‘Daredevil’) for his decline. On the other side is hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) who needs to be transported from Manchester, England to The Hague to testify in front of the International Court of Justice against former Belarus dictator Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman, ‘The Dark Knight’). So far Dukhovich has managed to kill anyone who stands against him, so it’s a fight to the finish line when Bryce is put in charge of Kincaid - his worst enemy - to get him there alive and on time with what seems like everyone around them trying to take the pair out.

'THE HITMAN'S BODYGUARD' RED BAND TRAILER

Australian director Patrick Hughes (‘The Expendables 3’) has been put in charge of this testosterone-fest. With ‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’ only his third feature film title, despite the calibre of talent in his previous work on ‘The Expendables 3’, this is a man clearly out of his depth when it comes to power-players like Jackson and Reynolds, and he’s either let them walk all over him or he was just brutally uninspired by the material.

For just under two hours, it’s a constant battle of who can be funnier, who can be cooler and who can be badder, with little on-screen chemistry holding it together. There’s a certain old school versus new school element to their characters, but it comes and goes in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it fashion. ‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’ is non-stop bickering, bantering, action-packed chases and gun fire. It’s exhausting with few and far between moments to catch one's breath. It’s a vulgar assault that lacks any real sense of fun. It has its moments fit for laugher and exclamations of “Holy shit!” - as does any action film worth a dime - but this one promises so much and delivers so little. It’s the equivalent of watching a live orchestra play the ending of Tchaikovsky’s Overture 1812 from the front row.

For just under two hours it’s a constant battle of who can be funnier, who can be cooler and who can be badder, with little on screen chemistry holding it together.

I will give ‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’ points for originality in one regard – Jackson has been given a wife. But not just any wife – a strong, sexy as all hell, age-appropriate wife in Salma Hayek. As Kincaid’s imprisoned paramour Sonia, she’s got a mouth on her to make a sailor blush, and it’s deftly entertaining. 50-year-old Hayek is still so fierce and beautiful it makes you want to weep. Okay, so at 69 Jackson and Hayek may not technically be an “age appropriate” partnership, but he wasn’t partnered next to a “foetus” so we’ll call this one a win.

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