The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2018) Movie Review – William J. McGinn

The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2018) Movie Review

In anticipation for the sequel I’m going to see soon, I wanted to bring up The Hitman’s Bodyguard, which I would describe as the best example of a “hamburger movie”. What is that? Well, like a hamburger, it is familiar, defaultly ungourmet, and often messy when trying to eat it, but tasty, filling, and what we like to watch movies for, not to feel our souls uplifted or break us down till we cry but to see explosions, bare chests, and the endless possibilities when pairing Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson together. Just look at the poster I chose; a hilarious imitation of a similarly titled film starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston.

In this action comedy you have Michael Bryce (Reynolds) who was a Triple A rated bodyguard, or agent, whose motto is along the lines of “Boring is the Best”, until an assassination of one of his prime customers puts him in enough misery to blame his girlfriend for what happened and begin whizzing in the back of his car via apple juice bottles. Then his ex is blackmailing him into doing an assignment of escorting a convict named Darius Kincaid (Jackson), a woeful murderer who claims to have proof of the claims of people testifying against one Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman). You see, apparently he’s the President of Belarus and people are saying he put so many innocent people to death but a lack of concrete proof other than witnesses have made his conviction impossible. And all witnesses have been killed, and there’s proof someone on Dukhovich’s side knows about Kincaid, so Bryce, who’s been off the grid for two years, has to be his bodyguard.

I loved how the Dukhovich plot unfolded. It might be simple, the way we see Oldman’s evil doings, but he’s immediately a character we cherish to see behind bars with no hope of escape, which kept me more invested in the story than even our two main characters were. I was also surprised when apparently Bryce and Kincaid knew each other somehow, and begin a fistfight at eye contact. My theory was Bryce sent him to prison or something. You’ll have to watch the movie to see if I’m right.

But let me state the obvious: Reynolds and Jackson a pair? It’s obvious there will be comedic relief. It’s obvious there will be a heartbreaking moment either between the two of them or after one gives advice to the other about their girl troubles. And if that’s all the movie was about, I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed it as much as I did. But the fight sequences and stellar suspense made any sneaky slapstick welcoming and it allowed me to just strap on my seatbelt, no questions asked. This movie is filled with actual adrenaline. Maybe it’s because the punches and blood feel passionate.

The movie also has a light twist that was clever enough to prevent it from getting by me, and I especially liked when the movie seemed like it would end, and didn’t. I know this is meant to be a comedy, but maybe because Oldman is such a good villain (during an opening scene, he causes a man to sob so hard, and the acting skills of both men is maybe what kept me as invested in the film as I was) it seemed like maybe not everyone would be unscathed at the end. And fair enough, Reynolds and Jackson are fun to watch together as the pair that want to be anything but.

There are a few ice cubes in the soda though, the biggest one being a disappointing Salma Hayek character. I enjoyed when she laughed along with us when the FBI made such a lame attempt to persuade her character, Sonya, to give crucial info, but she really didn’t need to be in the film. She doesn’t seem cruel enough to make her cellmate stand against the wall, and she’s just too ridiculously drunk for me to take her seriously, and I just didn’t ship her and Jackson at all. And I found it a little too too cliche when the countdown on the clock came to the seconds march, and some scenes just too predictable. But I’m looking forward to seeing everyone back in the sequel, and I finished the movie knowing I would see it again.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard features a few badass chicks, no weaponry we wouldn’t see at any firearm store, and lots of explosions. You know, movies, when you think about it, aren’t really a very old thing. But now that movies have been around for about 100 years and it’s a big Hollywood industry out there, there are only so many things you can do until the word original becomes extinct. So what do you do? Strive to come up with something new-ish? Or try to replicate what’s been shown only better? The Hitman’s Bodyguard does the latter.

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