The premise of The Hitman’s Bodyguard is all in its title: A hitman needs a bodyguard. Since that obviously sounds like a ludicrous idea — why would an assassin need a bodyguard? — what else do you expect of it? It knows exactly the type of movie it wants to be, and how it’s going to achieve it, and doesn’t try to sell itself as anything else; so audiences watching it really cannot complain if they find it lacking, because they should have known going in that this is the kind of movie they are watching. (Unless they’re the sort who choose movies to watch on a whim, and don’t read what it’s about before deciding to watch it. Which isn’t something that I will ever do, because I know what I like or can tolerate, and I don’t like to get unpleasant — or boring — surprises.)
It’s basically an action comedy that pairs two funny people with odd couple dynamics that have to work together to save the day. Ryan Reynolds stars as the strait-laced, rule-following, precautionary-measures-checking bodyguard to Samuel L. Jackson’s crazy, rule-busting, go-in-guns-blazing hitman who has to get to the Hague in 24 hours to testify against Gary Oldman’s Eastern European dictator in a war crimes trial, or Gary Oldman will walk away scot-free. All while being chased by Gary Oldman’s goons. And bickering among themselves, since they’ve literally tried to kill each other before.
The movie lives and dies on Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson’s chemistry with each other, and so thankfully for the movie, they make a hilarious pair. Fans of superhero movies who want to (but will probably never) see Deadpool and Nick Fury in the same movie can get their rocks off here, though Ryan Reynolds plays a character that is more similar to his in The Proposal. The Proposal was funny too, so that isn’t a bad thing.
The rest of the movie is full of cliches and therefore isn’t anything noteworthy. You have the double-crosser in the FBI; the incompetent law enforcement officials who can’t find the missing pair; the numerous, unending series of evil henchmen; Gary Oldman’s completely evil Eastern European dictator with an accent; Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson being unable to get to the Hague, despite having 24 hours, until literally the last second, etc. I quite like Elodie Yung as the ex-girlfriend in the FBI who recruits Ryan Reynolds for the protection job (and whom Ryan Reynolds still loves, of course), and Salma Hayek as Samuel L. Jackson’s crazy wife locked up in prison. They’re not particularly special, but they were both pretty kickass, and Salma Hayek was kinda funny, though it did feel like they were trying too hard to make her character funny. But overall, it’s definitely worth watching if you aren’t looking for too much in your entertainment.
By the way, can you believe that Samuel L. Jackson is already 68? :-O He certainly doesn’t look it!