The Hitman’s Bodyguard Review The Good, the Bad, and the Cancer

The Hitman’s Bodyguard is a rowdy shoot ‘em up with a great deal of irreverent sarcasm-based comedy.  The main characters, Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L Jackson, go on a gun slinging adventure together while trying to overcome their past animosity and grow as people.  While this is going on both of their love lives hang in the balance of well-timed cell phone calls to their significant others.


The Good:

If you love Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L Jackson, you’ll love this movie.  The entire movie feels like a series of high production improv comedy skits played out by the two, and it really shows that the film was written for them.  The action is intense and dynamic.  It falls short of being truly innovative like John Wick, but assuredly you won’t be bored.

Ryan Reynolds plays a “Triple A Rated Bodyguard” Michael Bryce.  His character is a rehash of Ryan Reynolds’s character in every other movie you’ve ever seen him in, so if you like that you’ll love this movie.  If you’re not a fan, don’t see this.  For those of you unfamiliar, his style of performance is to make frequent sarcastic quips at the expense of his fellow cast members characters- which is quite entertaining.  The only real difference in this movie is that he is playing a more upright and standard “good guy” character to contrast more with Jackson’s character.

Samuel L Jackson’s role is Darius Kincaid the hitman in the title.  As you would expect, he is an angry, swearing, trigger happy maniac, which is all quite fun to be honest.  What would wouldn’t expect is that there is some surprising character development that softens and humanizes the character.  He is given a justification for this actions.


The Bad:

The movie is limited by its star characters.  The two really are playing the same character that they played in every other movie that they’ve been in.  If you don’t care for the pair then this movie will be absolute agony for you.  Please keep that in mind.

Gary Oldman plays Vladislav Dukhovich, and his performance as the war criminal is generic.  It’s almost a dry parody of a James Bond villain third world strong man that never reaches the punchline.  He’s menacing, but predictably so.  He plots and schemes, but the viewer is aware of what will happen next.  Oldman’s character is spontaneously violent as you would expect a psychopath to be, but none of the spontaneity actually illicit surprise.  It comes away feeling formulaic in the extreme.

Elodie Young is Amelia Roussel, Ryan Reynold’s object of desire and an Interpol agent charged with the safety of Samuel L. Jackson’s character.  Her dual role as protector and love interest clash in the film.  While being romantically perused her emotions are volcanic and unpredictable.  While being a professional law enforcement officer she is cool and calculating.  This strong contrast leaves her seeming more erratic than if we only saw her character as the love interest.


The Cancer:

Salma Hayek’s character is Sonia Kincaid, the wife of Samuel L Jackson’s character.   Her character is a generic rehashing of the “feisty Latina” trope.  She plays this up to such an extent that it strains credulity.  At one point Hayek, a slight woman, actually intimidates her two prison guards.  That being said, her character arc does leave the viewer feeling optimistic about life and love.

Unsurprisingly, Jackson’s character is shaped by a tragic racist crime.  This has two cancerous effects.  First, Sam’s character, who estimates a body count of 250, is absolved of wrong doing as his path to becoming a hitman is virtuous.  Second, it pushes the narrative that white on black violence is based in racism and is at high levels.  In reality the last lynching happened in 1981.  Blacks have never been safer from whites.


The Important Questions:

Do you regret watching it?  No.  It was entertaining.

Would you watch it again?  Yeah, but maybe in six months or so.

Would you watch a sequel?  Probably, but not a guarantee.