The Hitman’s Bodygaurd !

As a movie enthusiast, it is a goal to watch the hyped-movies as soon as possible so that spoilers can’t spoil the joy of watching a good movie. Though not all the movies are worth-it, each one gives a unique experience. Is ‘The Hitman’s bodyguard (2017)’ worth your time? Nasif Tanjim tries to answer that question in his review.

 

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In the ‘80s and ‘90s, Shane Black of ‘Lethal Weapon (1987)’ fame turned the action comedy into a Hollywood staple‘‘. Audiences were going to get a mismatched couple (a young wisecracking character, with an older no nonsense one; sometimes one male, one female, you get the gist), pitched together to banter, teach each other some life lessons (preferably forming a mentor mentee relationship)-. These were all tied up in a neat package filled with high octane car chases, explosions and roof top chases climaxing in a gravity defying jump off a tall building. This model fell out of favour, partially thanks to the new kids in the Hollywood block— super-heroes. Also to the fact that eventually the audience became too familiar with this genre. As we all know, familiarity breeds contempt.

Given its long hiatus from the silver screen, the revival of this genre can be refreshing. Unfortunately, ‘The Hetman’s Bodyguard’ isn’t the movie for the job. In theory, this should be a home run since Tom O’Connor’s script was on the Black List 2011 which is an annual survey of the ‘most liked’ motion picture screenplays not yet produced. And the casting, Ryan Reynolds, fresh off his ‘Deadpool’ success plays a sharp-tongued, super-detailed bodyguard who can’t stop talking and Samuel L Jackson is playing a foul mouthed badass with a surprisingly moral side for the nth time. The premise is simple: Jackson plays the role of Darius Kincaid, a fearsome contract killer cooperating with the authorities to free his wife Sonia (Selma Hayek) from prison. Kincaid is willing to do anything to get Sonia, even if it means risking his own life. Reynolds plays his bodyguard, Michael Bryce, a formerly ‘triple-A’ rated security specialist whose career and relationship with Interpol agent, Amelia Roussel (Elodie Yung , known as Elektra in Netflix’s Daredevil and the defenders series) went south after he lost a high-profile Japanese client.

The main plot begins with Bryce at the bottom of the food chain, living in his car and chauffeuring around white-collar loafers (including Richard E Grant). He is called by Interpol agent and ex-girlfriend Amelia Ryder to get Darius Kincaid from London to Hague without getting killed so that Kincaid can testify against merciless European dictator Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman). Bryce is recruited as a trusted third party because Kincaid’s protection detail has been compromised and it was made possible by an unknown mole inside Interpol. That’s easier said than done, as an army of Belarusian mercenaries is trying to stop them at any cost. The odd couple’s dynamic stems from the fact that Bryce and Kincaid are bitter rivals. The former works to keep his clients alive, no matter who they might be, while the latter has led a very successful career in eliminating them. Kincaid has nearly killed Bryce no fewer than 28 times.

We tag along with this unlikely duo in a journey that can only be described as another Eurotrip, as they move from the UK to Italy and finally to Netherlands. A hot pursuit takes place 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 bring some much needed excitement into the foray; even though the CGI could have been better. Interestingly a video of the filming of this scene turned up on social media networks showing a car chase. A Porsche Cayenne is shown crashing into a Smart and pushing it in the water. The video went viral and the story changed to it being a stolen car in a real chase. The violence is brutal, the body count high, but there is an uninventive feel to Hughes’ staging of the action. The stars banter and bicker and wax sentimental about the badass women in their lives until the time arrives for the next shootout or car chase or you guessed it right — explosion.

The chemistry between Michael and Darius is the star of the show. Both Reynolds and Jackson are veterans of the action-comedy genre so it should come to you as no surprise that both actors pull off their characters very well. Mr Jackson gets most of the better lines. All in all, this duo makes the odd couple work quite well.

The rest of the cast of ‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’ mostly consists of stock characters you have seen before many times. The actors portraying those roles could have been better used. Dukhovich is a flat villain, one with all the cruelness expected of a fictional genocidal dictator on trial in an international court. The character is so under-developed that the genocides he is on trial for committing are never explained properly. As for the two love interests of the main characters, Darius’s wife Sonia is the more fun of the two, she’s the lively browbeater who is the perfect match for her husband. On the other hand, Amelia has somewhat more dimensions insofar as her relationship with Michael is complicated by their different professions.

This action-comedy is unnecessarily violent and has an uneven tone. Darius is overly reliant on a certain 12-letter expletive. So much so that Ryan’s character complains about it. ‘You ruined it’, he whines, supplying us with this brilliant piece of meta-humour. Every movie fan knows how heavily this expletive is linked with Mr Jackson. In total, Samuel L Jackson has spoken a hundred and twenty-two expletives throughout the running time.

If you are looking for a movie to watch while you eat your popcorn and have a few laughs in the process this movie is just right for you. But dear reader, if are looking for a more meaningful experience you should look elsewhere.

Ps: keep your ears open for ‘Nobody Gets Out Alive’, written and performed by no other than Samuel L Jackson.

 

Naïf Tannin is a student of University of Dhaka

 

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