Susan Granger’s review of “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” (Lionsgate)
There are no surprises in this buddy action-comedy. Two established American stars (one Caucasian, one African-American), supported by some stalwart, foreign character-actors, engage in lots of violence, peppered with profanity.
Disgraced Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) is an elite private security guard – a.k.a. bodyguard – who botched an assignment when a Japanese arms-dealing client succumbed to sniper fire.
So when his former girl-friend, Interpol agent Amelia Roussel (Elodie Young), asks him to safeguard a witness, promising to restore his “Triple A” reputation, he accepts the assignment.
Bryce is to provide protection for convicted hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson), who is going from Manchester, England, to The Hague to testify in International Criminal Court against the deposed “ex-Soviet Union” Belarusian president, Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman).
Spewing obscenities, Darius Kincaid’s badass Latina lover, Sonia (Salma Hayek), is incarcerated in a Dutch prison. As part of the bargain, his evidence is her get-out-of-jail card.
Needless to say, Bryce and Kincaid have a bad history together. They’re about to embark on a perilous 24-hour road trip together, and they soon discover they must rely each other to survive.
Scripted by Tom O’Connor (“Fire with Fire”) and directed by Patrick Hughes (“The Expendables 3”), it’s generic to its core and chock full of clichés. The vintage plot is neither original nor inventive. And every scene looks as if it’s filmed through a gauzy haze.
The use of stunt doubles for both is obvious, particularly during the extended chases through Amsterdam. And it becomes ludicrous, even laughable, to see them both emerge unscathed from gun battles that leave their car riddled with bullet holes.
The only saving grace is the occasionally humorous verbal sparring between Bryce and Kincaid.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” is a 5, missing its mark.