Overall: 16/20 – A
Director: Patrick Hughes
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Elodie Yung, Gary Oldman
Since this has been a year largely of remakes and sequels it’s refreshing to find movies that can still surprise you. Baby Driver was a movie that I was not expecting to love and yet it is one of my top movies for this summer. Fortunately, the fall movie season seems to have gotten off to a decent start with an absolutely hilarious movie known as The Hitman’s Bodyguard.
It’s premise is simple and nothing to write home about, but what sets it apart from other movies is the sheer amount of chemistry and comedic timing between its two main leads. Most action movies are lucky to do decently at the action or decently at the comedy. It’s a rare find when they excel at both.
The Plot: As I said, it’s not complicated. Escort the prisoner from point A to point B. Try to keep him from being killed and keep from killing him yourself. Oddly enough, the latter is harder than the former for executive protection agent Michael Bryce. Once a top-rated protection agent, Michael has fallen out of grace for letting one of his high-priority clients die. This demotion turns his world upside down and leads to a break-up with his Interpol girlfriend Amelia Roussel, who he blames for his current predicament. However, he can’t resist when she calls and begs the world’s biggest favor. The most notorious hitman in the world, Darius Kincaid, is the only person in the world capable of putting Vladislav Dukhovich, a genocidal ex-president, behind bars. And Dukhovich is just as determined to stay out, which means eliminating the key witness. What Darius needs is protection. What he gets is Michael Bryce.
For the next 27 hours, Michael and Darius trade insults, expletives, guns, and love advice in equal measure, as they make their explosive way from London to Hague. Both experts in their chosen field, their ideals clash as often as their fists do, with both men fighting for dominance over how their trip should go. Predictably, they learn to work together, and eventually become frenemies with a common goal.
The Acting: Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson. Need I say more? Two of Hollywood’s finest come together and blow any competition out of the water. Literally. The dialogue between the two is as snappy and fast-paced as the beautifully executed car chases. No offense to Gary Oldman or Elodie Yung, who are both fantastic in their own right, but they are massively over-shadowed by Reynolds and Jackson. Ordinarily I would put up a fuss about that because I hate when great actors are misused, but they aren’t misused. They both play their parts to perfection. They just aren’t the focus of the movie. The entire movie centers around the budding friendship between the hitman and his bodyguard and while no one else got much screen time, the movie didn’t lack in the slightest.
Expletives are a big part of this movie and for that alone I would say watch who you bring to it. While there are headshots aplenty, what this movie was rated for was primarily language. Sometimes judicious use of the f-word bothers me, but for some reason it seems to fit the style of this movie and is actually part of it’s comedic charm. Seriously. Only Jackson and Reynolds could manage to hold an entire conversation containing nothing but expletives and still manage to leave the audience in stitches. Because we were. Not only were there more than one or two people in the theater, but everyone had a blast. I can’t think of a single minute where someone was not laughing at the jokes and on-screen dynamics because they really were amazing.
The Visuals: I honestly can’t tell you how much of that movie was CGI. The car chase scenes feel authentic and are paced well enough you never get bored. (And there are a lot of chase scenes). The fight sequences, particularly the first fight between Reynolds and Jackson, are choreographed nicely and interspersed with just enough dialogue to make it interesting. The action never feels over the top or heavy handed and there is just enough bloodshed to keep you on the edge of your seat without delving into the just plain gross realm. All in all, the visuals are solid and feel moderately realistic for most of the movie.
The Music: There is music. I’m sure there is. They did that thing where they play classic hits that are in complete juxtaposition of the seriousness that is on screen which make for some truly epic fight montages. However, I can’t place any particular pieces from the score. Having not seen any of Atli Örvarsson’s works before I can’t say whether or not he has a particular style or if this is any way indicative of his typical works. But what I do know is that it isn’t memorable. This isn’t a soundtrack to rush out and buy.
Overall: This is a solid well-timed action piece. There are a handful of surprises to keep you on the edge of your seat, but overall, super predictable. Luckily, the previews did not give away all of the funny bits and I challenge anyone to say that Jackson and Reynolds are anything less than amazing.
Adults: If you like action flicks, this could be a fun one to see in the theater. Not a date movie unless your significant other also enjoys witty yet expletive laced dialogue. If violence bothers you, then you might want to skip because there’s enough violence that you’d be skipping about 90% of the movie.
Children: No. You’ll learn to cuss like a sailor soon enough, we don’t need to speed up the process.