I expected more than this from a Deadpool and Nick Fury crossover!
Yes, I will probably not be the only one noticing that The Hitman’s Bodyguard is starring both Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, both of whom played iconic Marvel comic characters. I also notice that it is the end of the summer, which can only mean one thing: disappointment. To be honest, though, with the exception of films like Wonder Woman, Dunkirk, and The Big Sick, this was, overall, a disappointing summer for the movies, with major releases like King Arthur, Valerian, and The Mummy receiving middling reviews and low box office returns. And the less said about The Emoji Movie, the better. So with such an underwhelming summer season, how does The Hitman’s Bodyguard stack up?
Ryan Reynolds plays Michael Bryce, once the world’s top protection agents, now disgraced after one of his clients was murdered. Samuel L. Jackson plays the foul-mouthed Darius Kincaid, one of the world’s most notoriously lethal hit men. Kincaid has made a deal with Interpol to testify against a savage dictator, Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman), in exchange for the release of Kincaid’s wife, Sonia, played by Selma Hayek, who is just as well mannered as he is. While being escorted to the trial, Kincaid’s armored car is attacked by Dukhovich’s men. The Interpol agent in charge, Amelia (Elodie Young), decides to call in Bryce, who is also her former boyfriend, to protect Kincaid and bring him to the trial.
The film is surprisingly hard to follow. For an action comedy, there are too many story elements thrown at the audience. The first fifteen minutes of this film are especially slow because it tries to hard to set up its complicated story. I am not exactly sure why filmmakers believe that a more convoluted story makes a better film, especially since not every filmmaker can handle a complicated setup the way Christopher Nolan can, and this is particularly true of this film’s director, Patrick Hughes, best known for directing The Expendables 3.
Surprisingly, every fifteen minutes or so, the film takes a break from the current subplot to explore various backstories. While it is not uncommon for this to occur in films of this kind, here it occurs too frequently and detracts from the continuity of the story. Everything is made even more confusing by the sound editing, as the music accompanying these scenes is louder than the dialogue.
Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, who have already proven how talented and funny they are, are the main draws in this movie. Sometimes the chemistry between actors can salvage a film despite a subpar story, and it almost does here, but not completely. Jackson does continue his tradition of awesomely abusing the “MF” word, and Reynolds continues his Deadpool-style bits of rambling. Sadly, though, these moments are not frequent enough, and the story around the actors is so heavy that they are not allowed to be that funny. The one actor who does get consistent laughs is Salma Hayek, whose scenery chewing is highly entertaining. Too bad she doesn’t appear very often.
There is one fantastic sequence in the film, which starts off with Reynolds and Jackson hijacking a car while having an argument about manners, and they handle it about as well as you’d expect. When they crash and Reynolds flies through the car’s windshield (and somehow survives), he is chased by henchmen on foot while Jackson is chased by car. The film intercuts between these two action scenes accompanied by an energetic soundtrack. Here, the action feels kinetic and the actors are given full reign to run their mouths off. You see Reynolds outwitting henchmen with tools at an auto shop, and Jackson swerving on and off a highway, even, at one point, driving in the wrong direction. Unfortunately, this sudden burst of entertainment had to end and we are taken back to the story. Honestly, this film could have ended there and nothing would have been lost.
The Hitman’s Bodyguard is the definitive hit-and-miss action-comedy of the summer. It tries to deliver what the setup promises, but the majority of the comedy is buried beneath a bewildering story that is hard to follow. That being said, there are some moments that will generate a few laughs, which keeps the film from being a total waste of time, but still you are left begging for something more worthwhile. It is not the absolute worst way to end the summer, but this is not that Nick Fury/Deadpool crossover we were hoping for.
NOTE: Mid credits, there is a blooper showing Ryan Reynolds ready to start a scene, but has to wait for the town’s church bells to stop ringing. From the look on his face, he felt the way I did waiting for this movie to end.