Wednesday, 20 December 2017

The Hitman's Bodyguard ★★★★☆

With approximately seven billion action movies now in existence (note: could be an exaggeration), it’s sometimes hard to find something within the genre that’s original enough to still be enjoyable. Whilst Netflix’s newest original movie ‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’ (directed by Patrick Hughes) isn’t going to be film of the year, it’s still a great watch that I wouldn’t recommend missing.

Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) is a professional triple-A bodyguard whose career abruptly ended after a client he was protecting got shot in the head. After a surprise call from ex-girlfriend Amelia Roussel (Elodie Yung), an Interpol agent, Bryce finds himself back in the game, though this time he’s got to Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) – a well-known and established hitman who is the world’s only hope at criminalising Russian dictator Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman) who is currently on trial for ethnic cleansing. Both Bryce and Kincaid are chalk and cheese, and so they have to put their differences behind them to get to the trial without the Russians wiping them out.

I will admit that ‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’ does not start off particularly well – some of the jokes fall flat, and it really takes between 30 to 45 minutes to get into the swing of things. An excessive use of foreshadowing means that plot twists don’t really come as a surprise, but thankfully the use of comedy and great action scenes mean it’s still entertaining despite that. 

After this initial problem, the humour suddenly becomes hilarious – as you can imagine, Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson together are a force to be reckoned with. Some of the best scenes are those that simply involve a conversation between the two of them, as the banter is always on point and they have great chemistry. Jackson’s role is quite a standard one for him, but it’s what he does best.

Supporting characters are also very good – Selma Hayek in particular has quite a surprising role this time around as the feisty wife of Kincaid who just doesn’t hold back, but she does a really good job. Besides the fact that his accent randomly turns German for the final part of the film, Oldman makes a convincing Russian dictator, although I do wish we’d seen slightly more of him. Also on the bad side, Ed Sheeranikov (played by Yuri Kolokolnikov – totally not his character’s name but he really does look like a burly Russian Ed Sheeran) is a high-powered and entertaining antagonist alongside Oldman, and his fight scenes with Bryce in the final third of the film were definitely one of my highlights.

As you can imagine, the film doesn’t take itself particularly seriously, but because of this there are some highly memorable scenes (the flashback to how Kincaid and his wife first met, to name a few). It’s got that same visual humour that films like ‘Deadpool’ and even oldies such as ‘Airplane’ have, where you’re just as likely to get a laugh from what’s going on in the background as what’s happening right in front of you.

I was also really impressed with the filming style – if you’ve watched Netflix’s ‘Daredevil’ series then the fight scenes will seem rather familiar. Indoor scenes were particularly cosy, and really made you feel like you were right in the action. Second unit also really had their work cut out for them, with action scenes that were likely super complicated to film but felt effortless. It’s hard nowadays to make a car chase feel innovative as they are so overdone, but the main one in ‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’ didn’t fail to disappoint.

With a great soundtrack (including ‘Black Betty’ by Ram Jam, which always goes down well) and a cast perfectly chosen for their characters, ‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’ is a good one to try out if you want something fast-paced with a lot of comedy charm. The first half was a 3/5 but the ingenuity of the second half was definitely up there as a 5, so the film averages out nicely.


Hannah Read

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