Since I don’t watch trailers, I often go into a movie knowing little to nothing about it, and sometimes my decision to see a movie or not is based on who is in it. The last time I saw a movie because it had Samuel L. Jackson, it was Kong: Skull Island, and that didn’t work out so well. Fortunately, The Hitman’s Bodyguard turned out better.
The film features Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) as a professional bodyguard. He’s very careful, very thorough, and very good. He’s never lost a client. And then he does, and everything falls apart. He loses his triple-A rating and suddenly finds himself with a much less desirable client list. He also loses his wife Amelia (Elodie Yung) because she’s an Interpol agent and he thinks she had something to do with the death of his scumbag client.
Meanwhile, an evil dictator (Gary Oldman) is facing charges of crimes against humanity. The only problem is that all of the witnesses against him keep dying, and the prosecution is running out of options. Their last hope might just be notorious assassin Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson), who’s locked up behind bars. Interpol makes a deal to get him to testify, but their security escort turns out to be less than effective, and it ends with only Amelia left to protect him. Suspecting a leak in Interpol, she reluctantly decides to outsource the job to Michael. He and Darius have a troubled past, but Amelia assures Michael that she’ll get him back his elite bodyguard status if he can pull off the job.
I was skeptical, but The Hitman’s Bodyguard turned out to be a pretty fun movie. It does have a lot of problems, but it’s still better than I expected. Gary Oldman gives a performance that’s not quite as over-the-top as Léon: The Professional, but it’s still the kind of hammy, over-acted role that he does very well. Ryan Reynolds plays the kind of highly sarcastic character we’ve come to expect from him, and it’s surprisingly not too annoying this time. And Samuel L. Jackson gives another clinic in the overuse of profanity, but this time, he’s actually given a reasonably well-developed character.
It’s definitely the kind of movie you can’t think about too much. There are logic problems all over the place, and there are plenty of times where the movie just doesn’t make any sense. On top of that, the evil henchmen are overwhelmingly clichéd, some of the humor is obvious and lame, and the movie has no idea how to end. And yet if you can turn off your brain for a while, you could do a lot worse.