The Hitman’s Bodyguard is high octane fun

Shrey Parikh, Reporter

The Hitman’s Bodyguard is an original action comedy starring Samuel L. Jackson, a lethal hitman named Darius Kincaid, and Ryan Reynolds as his titular bodyguard, Michael Bryce. The film follows Reynolds’ bodyguard protecting Jackson’s hitman from potential assassins while escorting him to the Hague to testify against a brutal dictator played by Gary Oldman.

Right off the bat it’s obvious that the film’s greatest strength is the chemistry between actors Reynolds and Jackson. Their characters are former adversaries who are forced to work together, a situation neither are pleased with, and whenever onscreen together, their non-stop jokes and insults take center stage. Both actors are charming and well liked in real life and their characters are great reflections of their public personas, making them easy to side with and root for throughout the two-hour runtime. Kincaid’s wife, played here by Salma Hayek, also provides many laughs in the movie, making the most of her extremely short scenes by firing off jokes like nobody’s business.

The action in the movie is another bright spot, the high-octane car chases and multiple shootouts prove that the staples of action filmmaking are as effective at holding audiences’ attention now as they were when the genre was new several decades ago. In fact, the film feels like a throwback to classic 80s action films at certain times, filled with plenty of outlandish stunts and genre cliches like one of the heroes taking a bullet, extracting it themselves, then jumping off a roof and emerging from the experience unharmed. While many of these scenes are definitely unrealistic, they are entertaining enough for one to suspend their disbelief for the sake of enjoying the movie.

Where the movie starts to trip up is its uneven and often jarringly distracting differences in tones. Scenes with Kincaid and Bryce play like a straightforward action comedy while scenes starring Oldman’s dictator seem to almost belong to a different movie, resembling more of a political drama than the action vehicle the movie is marketed as. When the two storylines meet in the climactic finale, the difference in tones is too obvious to ignore and the the B level action movie tone clashes with the overly serious dramatic tone to create a finale that is ultimately a bit confusing and predictable, once again sticking to cliches that worked for the first half of the movie but become a bit lazy and unimaginative in the second half.

Overall, The Hitman’s Bodyguard is a solid and enjoyable piece of late summer entertainment, featuring plenty of laughs and entertaining action despite its overuse of cliches and mostly forgettable plot.