Matt Adcock reviews The Hitman's Bodyguard (15), starring Ryan Reynolds and Salma Hayek
Generic buddy action comedies don't often come with such a strong cast – and The Hitman’s Bodyguard brings some likeable heroes with Ryan Reynolds (who is the titular bodyguard) and Samuel L Jackson (as the hitman).
Alas that is all Patrick Hughes has going for him as despite the fun foul-mouthed banter of the two leads, The Hitman’s Bodyguard is just not a great film in any way.
So we have Michael Bryce (Reynolds), a once AAA rated security provider to the rich and powerful. His career gets nuked when he loses a high-profile client and is consigned to looking after coked out lawyers such as Seifert (a fun but brief cameo from Richard E Grant).
Meanwhile evil President of Belarus, Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman) is busy committing genocide and killing off all witnesses who might testify against him. Except that is for ultra hitman Darius Kincaid (Jackson), who has dirt on Dukhovich and thus needs to be protected en-route to give evidence at The Hague, from Manchester in the UK.
Cue some mildly entertaining but ‘seen it all before’ assassination attempts, car chases and lots of banter. One of the problems is the low rent setting for the first major action scene. The streets of Coventry are just really hard to make look cool even when you have a small army of tooled up mercs trying to kill Kincaid. It looks for all the world like one of them might pop in a Tesco Express and grab a sandwich mid battle.
As the predictable plot ticks along, there are love interests on hand in the form of Bryce’s ex-lover Amelia (the excellent Elodie Yung), a CIA agent who blackmails him into protecting Kincaid in the first place. Speaking of whom, Kincaid’s wife Sonia (Salma Hayek) is locked up and is being used to persuade him to testify in order for her to be released.
There is one funny flashback of how Mr and Mrs Kincaid met but otherwise it's a case of lazy swearing rather than actually funny lines. Couple this with action which wouldn’t look out of place in a bargain bin DVD and this is massive missed opportunity.
The Hitman’s Bodyguard is averagely entertaining. It’s not rubbish but it could and with the cast it has, should, have been so much better.