Review: The Hitman’s Bodyguard

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Like all men, I am mortal. With the burden of mortality comes birthdays, and what better way to celebrate such a day than to go to the cinema? Perhaps this put me in a good mood for the film. Maybe the fact that my friend paid for the ticket also benefitted my mood. And I have not seen a bad film in a while, perhaps I have forgotten what they are like. Nonetheless, I enjoyed this film thoroughly.

The film stars Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L Jackson, both of whom are at the height of their comic powers. Jackson does a typical Samuel, but it works and he is fun to watch. Reynolds is as good an action star as he is in Deadpool, with the two effortlessly playing off each other and making the scenes between their characters the best in the film.

How does a hitman come to require a bodyguard? Said hitman is being hunted by the ruthless mercenaries of an Eastern European dictator and so needs a trained bodyguard to escort him to Amsterdam. Tensions are created between the characters, as they have a history of fighting each other before.

The screenplay and subtlety in the writing really made the film endearing. There is a nice sense that the characters have a history and there are moments of dialogue in the script when only later do we see the subtle significance, such as Reynolds saying he always puts on his seatbelt, then later flying through a windscreen of a car. In moments like this, there is no need for another character to remark “you always said to wear a seatbelt!” – it is always left the audience to spot such moments themselves.

The film also packs in dialogue about romance and morality, discussing both in an amusing and surprisingly compelling way. The character of Jackson’s incarcerated wife (played by Salma Hayek) is unfunny in the dialogue that she is given on her own. However, this is the only comedy in the film that falls completely flat.

Being an action comedy, the film has plenty of both. The action is fine, the finest moment had to be when Reynold and Jackson have a fist fight, as the camera movement there was exciting. Most of it is fairly forgettable, however, and the film is a lot better when focusing on the characters.

Overall, I enjoyed The Hitman’s Bodyguard; its originality in ideas and the gleeful violence that it contains made it very endearing and I was glad to see a film like this in a summer full of sequels, reboots, franchise, etc..

★★★★☆