‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’ Ends the Summer With Some Seriously Escapist Fun
In “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” the world’s top protection agent (Ryan Reynolds) is called upon to guard the life of his mortal enemy, one of the world’s most notorious hitmen (Samuel L. Jackson). The relentless bodyguard and manipulative assassin have been on the opposite end of the bullet for years and are thrown together for a wildly outrageous 24 hours. During their high octane and hilarious adventure from England to the Hague, they encounter high-speed car chases, outlandish boat escapades and a merciless Eastern European dictator (Gary Oldman) who is out for blood. Salma Hayek joins the mayhem as Jackson’s equally notorious wife.
The action buddy comedy has long been such a staple at the box office that it’s practically its own genre. From “Beverly Hills Cop” and “Lethal Weapon” in the 80s to more recent flicks like “Ride Along” and “The Heat,” action buddy comedies only work when the leads have a charisma and chemistry that an audience can buy into. Fortunately, Jackson and Reynolds are two of the most charismatic actors around, and their trademark schticks perfectly compliment one another.
It may sound obvious, but for an action buddy comedy to work, the comedy and action have to, well, work. There were so many great one-liners that it would have been worth writing them all down. One standout happens when Reynolds is taking his car washer to task: “My car smells like ass. Did you wash my car with assholes?” And yes, the language is vulgar. If you don’t like foul language, then you will hate “The Hitman’s Bodyguard.”
There’s nothing official on the books yet, but it wouldn’t be at all surprising if “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” comes close to breaking “The Wolf of Wall Street’s” record for the amount of times the f word is used. If language that might make a sailor blush is your thing, then you will love this movie. And if hearing Jackson utter his famous mf line is your thing, then you will really love this movie. In fact, in another one of the movie’s great one-liners, Reynolds complains that Jackson has ruined the word “motherf***er” for him.
The movie is basically one long chase scene, and there are a couple of “how’d they do that?” moments. The chase sequence on the Amstel River in Amsterdam better be up for an MTV Movie Award for Best Action Sequence. The film should be up for Best Fight Scene, too. The fight in the cantina really stands out. While everyone is beating the shit out of each other in the background, Jackson and Hayek are totally lost in each other as they slow dance to Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is.” It’s the most irreverently touching scene in the film.
With the summer movie season ending, it’s fitting then that the season ends with the bang that is “The Hitman’s Bodyguard.” Sometimes you just want to go along for the ride and have fun for a couple hours and that is what “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” offers. While the irreverent movie doesn’t take itself seriously, it does provide some serious escapist fun.
“The Hitman’s Bodyguard” opens in theaters Aug. 18.