Here’s the good news – if you’re looking for a dumb, fun, switch-your-brain-off action comedy, The Hitman’s Bodyguard succeeds. There’s nothing innovative here; you’ve got a stock action plot, mostly conventional action scenes (that strain against the budget) and a buddy-comedy/bromance between its stars, Ryan Reynolds – playing professional bodyguard Michael Bryce – and Samuel L. Jackson as hitman Darius Kincaid. Jackson and Reynolds’ chemistry – along with a veritable fuckton of expletives – carry the film through its clunkier jokes and unadventurous storytelling. And there’re needle drops for Lionel Richie’s “Hello” and Refused’s “New Noise”! It’s a good time.
Provided you can subscribe to that switch-your-brain-off advice.
The problem with switching your brain back on – as I discovered, thinking back on the film the day after watching it – is that there’s a whole lot that erodes the film’s sheen upon reflection. I don’t have a problem with building comedy out of violence – this is an action-comedy after all – but who felt the need to include a torture scene? Or, say, evoke real life terror events is a misguided, unnecessary final act? These aren’t problems that will bother everyone, but they’re enough me for to downgrade it to “ehhh” from my initial reaction of “good!”