There’s a lot to be said for an action comedy that’s done well, in that it’s exciting and funny. A tough trick to pull off is having them both happen. The Hitman’s Bodyguard is successful enough in that it is action packed, and it is occasionally very funny, thanks to the tangible chemistry between stars Samuel L Jackson and Ryan Reynolds. Director Patrick Hughes, who’s most recent claim to fame was Expendables 3 (and that was a thing, right?) handles the material well, but much like the third installment of a very familiar testosterone-fueled action franchise, this one has a decided ‘seen it before’ feel to it.
Yeah, you really have seen all this before – from the straight-forward plot, to the action set pieces timed in semi-regular intervals; the faceless villains falling to bullets in as matter-of-fact a way as any given first person video game. Having said that, it’s nice that the car chase becomes a boat chase through the Amsterdam canals, but the way it’s edited together suggests that this is a film constructed from the Taken school of rapid fire cuts and camera movements will somehow make it look like a lot more is happening than really is. Also, much of the highlights of the film, the wittiest of the banter between leads Reynolds and Jackson, is in the film’s trailer. But this is par for the course, what with the internet and all.
At the end of the day, we’re not going in expecting Citizen Kane. You could do worse than to spend a few hours in a European-set action spectacle; I suppose there has to be something to speak of at the end of the day when your film boasts 31 producers (that’s not a typo – there are just shy of three dozen producers, executive producers, line producers, co-executive producers… I was surprised to see that my name wasn’t on the credits). Ryan Reynolds, who finally found his cinematic stripes in Deadpool is always entirely watchable, as is the ever amusing Jackson.
As disposable popcorn entertainment, it hits all the right notes.