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Movie Review: The Hitman’s Bodyguard

Finish the summer with a bang and a laugh with The Hitman’s Bodyguard. Image used from filmonic.com

The summer movie season has finally come to a close. It’s always an unfortunate thing to think about. All the big films meant to represent and be remembered for this season, have come and gone and now it’s time to start thinking about autumn. But as always the summer has one final trick up its sleeve and this year that trick is called The Hitman’s Bodyguard. And I can guarantee that there was no bigger surprise this summer than this film!

 

The story for The Hitman’s Bodyguard is rather simple. The film follows Michael Bryce, a former successful bodyguard who is forced to protect his mortal enemy, hitman Darius Kincaid, so he can testify against a genocidal dictator. The story is your standard road trip comedy… just with lots of fighting and life threatening situations of course. It isn’t anything new or anything particularly grand however it serves its purpose. Besides the real focus of the film is on the two main characters and how they interact, fight and grow. There are some very good moments of story throughout the film which deal with the back stories for Bryce and Kincaid which are engaging and intriguing despite being rather short. The comedy is pretty good relying heavily on the chemistry of the two leads. Even though most of it is one person screaming and swearing there are some genuine gems of humor here and there throughout the film and when it’s funny it’s very funny.

 

The characters for The Hitman’s Bodyguard are mixed

 

Michael Bryce and Darius Kincaid are both very interesting characters. One factor is how the film plays on our expectations of the characters: In the trailers the film leads us to believe that Bryce is a good man who protects good people while Kincaid is just an assassin who will kill anyone for the right price. But that is not so. Bryce is a self absorbed, arrogant man child who was a successful bodyguard but protected the most reprehensible people on Earth and blamed others for his own faults. Kincaid, on the other hand, only kills said reprehensible people and who happily sacrifices any chance at avoiding prison to help his wife. There is a very good, but very brief, moment in the film where the two actually have a bit of a moral dilemma in how they each act and see the world. The conflicting traits don’t end there as both have clashing personalities. Kincaid is brash, bombastic and goes with the flow while Bryce is quiet, calculating and puts rules and safety above all else. The conflicting nature of the characters works very well as they work off each other well comedically and both grow well as characters.

 

As great and interesting as the two lead characters are the same unfortunately cannot be said for the supporting cast. Our villain for the film Vladislav Dukhovich is rather bland and one note, seemingly not doing anything throughout the course of the film. The man is a genocidal, sadistic lunatic and as such he could have been memorable has we seen more of his crimes but as such he mainly just sits around waiting for Kincaid to die. Amelia Roussel is Bryce’s love interest and while her role in the film is interesting, being Bryce’s scapegoat for his own failure and thus expanding on his own selfish nature, she just doesn’t seem to do much to be remembered. And Jean Foucher, one of the leading members of INTERPOL and obvious secondary antagonist, is an underwritten villain who exists for no other reason than to get the plot going.

 

Acting for The Hitman’s Bodyguard is well done

 

Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds both give outstanding performances. Individually both do well in their roles but it’s when they have to work together that their performances sky rocket. The two work incredibly well as a comedic duo with Reynolds being more the straight man and Jackson the comedic foil and the chemistry and energy exudes from their performances. Both are very humorous from start to finish, however I feel as though Jackson was forcibly more restrained in his performance then Reynolds. It felt like the creators thought Jackson was only funny if he’s yelling and swearing constantly and while that isn’t exactly false it still wastes his talent. Jackson is a fantastic actor who could do so much more, in fact he has a few very well done serious moments in the film, but Reynolds is the only one allowed to be more versatile in the comedic routine and while he does very well it just doesn’t see fair overall.

 

Gary Oldman has very little to do in his performance as there isn’t much focus on him. However, what little we do see is very well done. Oldman does manage to be far more menacing and memorable then his character is and his accent is absolutely spot on. What little we do see of him is delightfully devious.

 

Joaquim de Almeida gives a very standard performance by his standards. de Almeida I a fine actor who always gives a good performance but he always plays the same characters over and over again that the minute I saw his name in the opening credits I knew he was going to be one of the villains, And surprise surprise he was. At this time it would be more surprising if he didn’t play an antagonistic character.

 

Salma Hayek is an absolute scene stealer as Sonia Kincaid. Hayek is over the top and immensely funny in her moments and though brief, like so many others in this film, she’s still memorable and fun in every bit she does.

 

The action scenes for The Hitman’s Bodyguard are fun and well made

 

Three years ago I dreaded the fact that Patrick Hughes was directing Expendables 3. Why? Because he wasn’t an action director, the only credit to his name was Red Hill a western/drama and hadn’t the proper experience, not to mention other better directors were shot down in favor of him. Had The Hitman’s Bodyguard come out first I would have had far more confidence. The action of the film is an absolute blast with energetic gun fights, well choreographed fight scenes and exciting car chases. Each has its own bit of variety to them and are well placed throughout the film. The editing and cinematography can be rather choppy at times however I still found the action coherent and easy enough to follow. Though credit where credit is due there are rather interesting uses of cinematography such as Hughes attempting to give the illusion of a single take fight scene. The illusion is obvious and rather amateur however it is still a good first attempt and ambitious never the less, especially with good choreography to fall back on.

 

Final Thoughts: I went into The Hitman’s Bodyguard expecting to enjoy it and left loving it. The story is simplistic but it gets the job done and when it’s funny it’s very funny, the two main characters are very interesting with some good depth, Jackson and Reynolds are great and the action is energetic and lots of fun. I was floored by how good this film was and that’s the type of feeling I want from a movie. It was the type of film where I was happy to look at the time and see I had so much left and disappointed when the time was running down. There’s still some time left in your summer vacation. Go to the beach. Go camping. Have a pool day. Hang out with your family and friends. Squeeze ever last ounce out of the summer as you can, just make sure you save time to end your summer with The Hitman’s Bodyguard, the biggest surprise of the summer.

 

Verdict: 4.5/5

About the Author

Good day to you, my name is Jonathan Gonzalez. For years I've loved movies and have been reviewing them for years, ever since I first saw Roger Ebert on Ebert and Roeper during my freshman year of high school for the first time. I am a graduate of Mercy College with a Bachelor's in Journalism and I have Asperger's Syndrome, something I am truly proud of.

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