I didn’t rush out to the theaters to see The Hitman’s Bodyguard because it looked fairly… average. There’s plenty of shoot em up action movies with witty leads, so nothing really stuck out here. After a few weeks in theaters, was this movie able to impress?
A former evil dictator (Gary Oldman) is being brought to court for supposed genocide but very few people are willing to testify against him. When an assassin (Samuel L. Jackson) is brought in and willing, Interpol must get him to the trial safely. The head agent (Elodie Yung) brings in one of the only people she can trust, her ex-boyfriend (Ryan Reynolds) who just happens to be a professional bodyguard. What ensues is a cross-Europe adventure with plenty of car chases and shootouts.
Luckily we have two of the most charismatic actors working today in our lead roles, so the movie is nonstop wit. Both Reynolds and Jackson are at their best here and their chemistry is spot-on. Now, to be honest, they’re exactly themselves, so this isn’t some revolutionary acting. Reynolds is the same witty Reynolds we’ve seen in every movie he’s been in for the last 10 years. Same with Samuel L. Jackson, who curses up a storm and has tons of attitude, the same shtick that propelled him to fame.
While most of the action seems generic, there’s one sequence that stands out, mostly because of it’s locale. Midway through the movie, we get an epic chase scene through the streets of Amsterdam, which is super enthralling for a few reasons. It’s bright and vivid, the city itself really colorful. It also gives us unique dynamics, such as boats and motorcycles and cars, all racing against each other, in really cool ways.
What doesn’t work?
Now Reynolds and Jackson can only do so much here. On a whole, this movie feels forgettable, only because so many action films have done exactly these same beats. Aside from the Amsterdam chase, it’s all relatively tame.
And while our leads make it fun, they’re not stretching any new muscles either. This feels like every role they’ve ever played.
The biggest disappointment of all is probably the misuse of Gary Oldman, who plays an incredibly generic villain who doesn’t seem to have any clear motivation here. He gets plenty of “I’m evil” moments but it’s all very superficial, considering the talent Oldman should be bringing to the table.
This movie is fun, no doubt. Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson have a great chemistry but they’re acting exactly like Reynolds and Jackson, nothing surprising or new. The rest of the movie is familiar as well, treading the same tracks as many other action comedies. A disappointing villain adds the cherry on top, giving us a movie you’ll enjoy for a few minutes but immediately forget.