Maybe “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” would’ve been a little better if they would’ve got Samuel L. Jackson to sing “I Will Always Love You.”
Maybe. But probably not.
As it is, this “Bodyguard” is just your garden variety action-comedy, heavy on the car chases and fight scenes but light on the funny.
Ryan Reynolds stars as Michael Bryce, a man who used to run a successful private protection agency until he fell on hard times. His downfall was due to ace assassin Darius Kincaid (Sam Jackson), who put an end to one of Bryce’s high-profile clients with the collateral damage being Bryce’s career.
Kincaid eventually winds up in prison, but cuts a deal with the authorities in exchange for his testimony against Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman) the ruthless former dictator of Belarus.
But getting Kincaid to The Hague could be a problem since Dukhovich has his personal death squad situated all along the route. When Kincaid’s police escort is ambushed, Interpol agent Amelia Roussel (Elodie Yung) – who just happens to be Bryce’s ex-girlfriend – realizes she can’t trust anyone on the inside to get her man to court.
So Roussel turns to her former lover for help. But Bryce wants nothing to do with the man who took several shots at him over his career. So naturally, in Hollywood odd couple/road trip fashion, the two men bond while dodging bullets and enduring torture as they try to get to the court on time.
“The Hitman’s Bodyguard” is a thoroughly average affair. If you like watching Ryan Reynolds do his thing and Samuel L. Jackson do his thing and you’d like to see them play off each other, then that’s about all there is to recommend this. And this isn’t Reynolds or Jackson at their best. Jackson’s charming and amused demeanor doesn’t really mesh with someone who’s supposed to be an expert killer. Salma Hayek actually gives the most entertaining performance in the film, as Kincaid’s rough and profane wife.
The action is slightly better than the comedy, although some of the chase/fight scenes go on far too long. There’s nothing fresh or witty about “The Hitman’s Bodyguard.”