In The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) is given the near-impossible task of escorting hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) to very important trial in The Hague. Unfortunately for them, the person he’s testifying against really doesn’t want him to appear.
This movie is violent, and there is harsh language, so it’s not for people with tame sensibilities. For those that expect that, it’s a rather clever buddy comedy that is everything you’d expect it to be.
Highly recommended for those who want that sort of film!
Standard Review (with minor plot spoilers)
This is essentially a buddy cop film, minus the cops. Michael Bryce was a bodyguard that was highly rated, until one of his charges was killed. Since then, he’s been scraping by with low-level clients who need protection.
After an Interpol prisoner transport goes awry, Bryce has the assignment dropped in his lap, whether he likes it or not. He’s well acquainted with Darius, but only because of the jobs he’s ruined for Michael. They are clearly not friends – Michael plays it cool, by the book, in a way that doesn’t attract attention. Meanwhile, Darius is an improviser, which infuriates Michael to no end.
This sort of film lives and dies on the interaction between the two main characters, and it excels at that. The two argue and come to blows over certain things, but they realize they have to make it to the destination in one piece. There is a definite back and forth between them, with neither gaining the upper hand in the end.
Being a buddy-cop film, there’s also a lot of fighting. Their opponent, Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman), will stop at nothing to prevent Darius from testifying. The conflicts that come from this are relentless, and each one is more audacious than the previous one. There are car chases that are extremely well choreographed, and in my opinion, are the best I’ve seen in several years.
Some of the best buddy cop films insert humor, sometimes to the point of being rather strained. That’s not the case here, as the comedy flows from the bickering, and seems more integral to these character’s lives than just something tacked on. It flows freely, as does the profanity – we are talking about Samuel L. Jackson here, not to mention the guy who played Deadpool. It definitely works for this movie. The interplay between Reynolds and Jackson rivals that of the back and forth between DeNiro and Grodin in Midnight Run, which shares more than a few parallels with this movie, but with more profanity. A lot more.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the great casting for Darius’ wife, Sonia (Salma Hayek). There’s a scene, and you’ll know it, that just works so well for her. The stunt coordinator and stunt people did an excellent job here!
I definitely recommend The Hitman’s Bodyguard.