Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L Jackson coast through a silly action comedy with charm
Ryan Reynolds is a bodyguard assigned to protect Samuel L Jackson’s hitman: as action-comedy premises go, it’s not a bad one. Both actors have impressive form in the genre and a winning way with a wisecracking one-liner.
Michael Bryce (Reynolds) is a down-on-his luck hard-drinking bodyguard – or an ‘executive protection agent’ as he puts it. He soon sobers up when he gets roped into escorting a notorious hitman, Darius Kincaid (a classic Jackson moniker if ever there was one), from prison in the UK to the International Court of Justice to give evidence. The two are arch-enemies, so there’s plenty of in-fighting, backbiting and ‘motherfucking’ as they tumble across Europe in a series of vehicles, dodging henchmen and trying to get to the trial in one piece.
All that’s decent fun, as is Salma Hayek as Kincaid’s foul-mouthed wife, though other roles are less well filled. French actress Elodie Yung looks uncomfortable as Bryce’s Interpol agent ex, while Gary Oldman is hammy in the thankless role of an Eastern European dictator. His crimes – the subject of an equally unconvincing trial – sit uneasily with the comedic tone. The Hitman’s Bodyguard is not exactly killing it, but coasts on the charisma of its central stars.