The Hitman’s Bodyguard

Kill a Couple of Hours


18 August 2017| No Comments on The Hitman’s Bodyguard     by Sean Chavel


Ultra-violent but cheeky. That combination has always bothered me, and The Hitman’s Bodyguard pushes the pedal to the metal with that aesthetic. It didn’t offend me as much as “Kingsman: Secret Service” did due to all the coarseness and cruelty that movie had. Often enough, I liked the fast clip banter between Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds, and got a kick out of an Amsterdam car chase that uses real cars and boats (no CGI!), but for me, this movie too often dips into muck, bad lighting, or simply rubbed me the wrong way.

It’s impossible to deny that this movie suits Jackson very well, and should suit all of his die-hard fans. He’s the macho, fast-talking, impervious to insults, dish out poetic justice type of anti-hero hitman. I’m not sure who decided Reynolds was an action star, enough to be an embodiment of a bodyguard, because he feel every pelt he delivers on a bad guy is assisted by extra booms on the soundtrack. The guy is lean but has no bulk. Of course, Reynolds can dispatch bad guys and sling jokes at the same time, a quality I sometimes like and sometimes don’t. Maybe I like him more in small doses, although I did write a positive review for “Deadpool.” In an effort to think this all over, I suppose I appreciate that Reynolds is in this picture shooting bad guys and performing like it’s a comedy roast and not Kevin Hart doing the same thing who I really can’t stand.

For plot, that I think the moviemakers want you to take seriously in all this, Reynolds has to escort Jackson from the Netherlands to Amsterdam so he can testify in court against a genocidal tyrant from Belarus, with Gary Oldman in full nutcase mode as the tyrant. There’s a messy conspiracy behind it all, hence an attempt at serious screenwriting. On a lighter note, Reynolds and Jackson have a lot of backstories, prompting a lot of flashbacks, a lot of self-conscious flashbacks. Some of them fun, some of them not. Each man has a woman in their lives which has caused a foible or two. Reynolds was once a Triple-A agent and wants his reputation restored (we learn a lot of what that means in flashbacks), and in the course of the film, Jackson could help him with that.

All those signing up for mindless fun, “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” provides all that sans a few short attempts to say something serious about Interpol corruption (which is malarkey for the movies only). The movie’s high notes allow Jackson to let it rip in badass-ness. The movie’s obligatory notes allows Reynolds to do his patented smart-alecky stuff. Together, there’s some offbeat quality they share. Salma Hayek is also in the movie, and she does a wickedly funny turn and I chuckled every time I saw her intimidate the men. None of this is bad. But there’s a little too much meanness here too, it’s also one of those movies with a fake heart imparting fake lessons, and every last thing is a joke. Even a guy’s skull getting splattered into an airplane’s glass window by a bullet is a joke. Your moral core has to be flipped onto the off switch while you watch something like “The Hitman’s Bodyguard.” If you can do that, let it rip.

118 Minutes. Rated R.


Film Cousins: “The Gauntlet” (1977); “16 Blocks” (2006); “Red” (2010); “The Nice Guys” (2016).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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