‘Hitman’s Bodyguard’ Review Roundup: Fun Summer Flick That Doesn’t Try Too Hard
Hitman’s Bodyguard hits theaters today and stars Ryan Reynolds as Michael Bryce, the bodyguard of one of the world’s most notorious hitmen, Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson). The comedic action flick shows the antics of the pair, who have been on opposite sides for a long time, suddenly thrust together for 24 hours. They encounter high speed boat and car chases while escaping a merciless Eastern European dictator, played by Gary Oldman. Salma Hayek joins the fun as Kincaid’s equally notorious wife Sonia.
Despite the exciting and ridiculous action, The Hitman’s Bodyguard received a measly 39% on Rottentomatoes, but that is not the best tell about the quality of the film. While most critics agree the movie is not a good piece of cinema, they also agree that it is a romp of fun that doesn’t try to be anything more than it is.
HITMAN’S BODYGUARD REVIEW ROUNDUP
“The Hitman’s Bodyguard, directed by Patrick Hughes and written by Tom O’Connor, is not a good movie, but, in fairness, it doesn’t try to be. It occupies its genre niche — the exuberantly violent Euro-action movie-star-paycheck action comedy — without excessive cynicism or annoying pretension. The stars banter and bicker and wax sentimental about the badass women in their lives (Salma Hayek and Élodie Yung) until the time arrives for the next shootout or car chase or suite of explosions. These range from tedious to wildly overblown to kind of fun. A hot pursuit in and along the canals of Amsterdam — with Mr. Jackson in a speedboat, Mr. Reynolds on a motorbike and the bad guys in black cars — brings a few jolts and gasps, even if the digital seams in the sequence peek out intermittently. A bout of tool-assisted hand-to-hand combat in a hardware store makes up in efficiency for what it lacks in originality. The final blowup and showdown destroy whatever sense of proportion the movie might have had, along with a lot of Dutch infrastructure.”
–A.O. Scott, The New York Times
“There is also the film’s nadir, a maudlin flashback in which Kincaid explains how he committed his first killing to take revenge on a thief who had robbed a church and murdered the pastor. So, are we supposed to understand that the following 249 killings were equally justified? Or that paid assassins can actually be really nice guys?… Equally troubling is the depiction of the genocidal dictator Vladislav Dukhovich who, whatever the real failings of the actual Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko, is mainly a portrait of the Serbian war criminal Slobodan Milosevic transplanted north… Oldman is admirably restrained in the role but his low-key work makes you realize why the Bond movies always feature over-the-top villains with outlandish plots to conquer the world: the political realism doesn’t sit well with the exploding cars, singing nuns and quipping killers. The two female characters are also poorly handled… predictably enough, both of these women need the men to save the day.”
–Kate Taylor, The Globe and Mail
“The Hitman’s Bodyguard is the epitome of what a summer movie should be. There’s sufficient spectacle to satisfy the “wow!” factor, some hammy performances by actors in their wheelhouses, a half-dozen solid laughs, and a script that, if not likely to be called “clever” or “smart”, doesn’t demand a frontal lobotomy to be enjoyed… The film’s tone is light & violent, mixing banter, physical comedy, and high-octane action. There are a couple of times when it goes dark – too dark, actually, for a movie of this nature… The Hitman’s Bodyguard is exactly what the average movie-goer would expect from something with this title and these actors and, judged on that basis, it rarely misfires. It’s an engaging and often amusing popcorn movie that doesn’t demand anything more from an audience than that they sit back and have fun. Older viewers will probably enjoy it more than younger ones so, even if it doesn’t shoot up the late summer box office, it should have a healthy afterlife on home video. Worth a look if you’re in the mood for Jackson, Reynolds, and the mayhem they create.”
–James Berardine, Reel Views
“The charismatic stars of The Hitman’s Bodyguard all combust with masterful comic chemistry as they play off their well-established cinematic personas. As for the high-speed vehicular stunts, they are breathless, relentless, endless—and a bit too numbingly generic.The main concept of lethal frenemies who must put aside their grudges for a common goal is a tried-and-true trope, as writer Tom O’Connor acknowledges with echoes of everything from 48 HRS. and Mr. and Mrs. Smith to Midnight Run and The Gauntlet. But the real draw is the odd-couple matchup.”
–Susan Wloszczyna, rogerebert.com
“Unfortunately, the poster is more clever than anything in the movie, which is sporadically funny but completely devoid of personality. To achieve that despite having two very personality-heavy stars is quite something. Leave it to the director of “The Expendables 3” (Patrick Hughes) and the writer of nothing (Tom O’Connor), I guess.”
–Eric D. Snider, ericsnider.com
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