By Troy Ribeiro
Film: “The Hitman’s Bodyguard”; Director: Patrick Hughes; Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, Salma Hayek, Elodie Yung, Joaquim De Almeida, Kristy Mitchell, Richard E. Grant; Rating: ***1/2
There is nothing original about the concept of ‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’, which is a conventional buddy film and though the plot hinges on a flimsy point, the film is yet, interestingly entertaining and engaging. It is a bonding tale, an action-comedy between a mercenary assassin and his bodyguard.
Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds), who is “good at keeping people alive”, loses a high-profile client to a mysterious sniper. Professionally disgraced, he suspects his girlfriend, Interpol agent Amelia Roussel (Elodie Yung), of betraying him.
Two years later, Amelia is assigned the task of transferring notorious contract killer Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) to the International Criminal Court at the Hague. Kincaid is the only living witness who can testify against President Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman), the dictator of Belarus. Coincidentally, all the witnesses and evidence against him seem to disappear.
Enroute to Hague, Roussel’s team is ambushed and she reluctantly seeks Bryce’s assistance. He has a day to keep Kincaid alive and transport him to Hague. How he executes this assignment and patches up with Amelia, forms the crux of the tale.
With interesting characters, organic complications, memorable set-pieces and humour, the script written by Tom O’Connor is brilliant and appealing. The comedy with; a ride on the bus with chirpy nuns, or the bottle of pee or the fart jokes is a tad forced.
But what makes the writing extraordinary, are the performances between the lead pair, especially when they spout, “Boring is always best”, or “Who is more evil? He who kills bad men or He who protects them?”
Jackson as the gleefully stubborn bad-man with a tattooed pate and Reynolds as the suspicious, quick-witted bodyguard are both excellent in their respective parts. With a sense of style and attitude that resembles a bluntly ironic return to the 90s action excess, their on-screen chemistry and crackling repartee are live-wire and entertaining.
Foul mouthed and aggressive, Salma Hayek as Kincaid’s wife Sonia is over the top and amusing. She makes a perfect partner for Kincaid. Elodie Yung as Amelia is charming but has nothing much to offer.
Apart from the performances what keeps you glued to the screen is the variety of action scenes which are captured by Jules O’Loughlin’s brilliant cinematography. There is an outstanding motorcycle and car chase through Amsterdam’s canals and streets, smashing things to bits in the most exciting ways.
The background score by Atli Orvarsson is loud and over the top, but the bonus is listening to the original song, “Nobody gets out aliveaa twice sung by Samuel L. Jackson. Once during the lengthy scene in the car while heading towards Hague and the second time during the closing credits.
“The Hitman’s Bodyguard” offers light moments worth your pop-corn and ticket price.
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