I have nothing if I don’t have you: A Review of ‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’

By The Collectress

Did I just title this film review with song lyrics from The Bodyguard soundtrack?

Yes, yes I did.

In fact, The Hitman’s Bodyguard isn’t so different from that 90s film starring Kevin Costner and the late Whitney Houston, barring the absence of Ms Houston’s beautiful vocals (you’re still missed, Whitney). The Hitman’s Bodyguard takes the idea of a bodyguard providing protection to a reluctant well-known figure and pairs it with an irreverent humor that only Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds could deliver with a straight face.

The premise isn’t complicated: a fallen-from-grace bodyguard, Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds), is hired by his Interpol ex-girlfriend (Elodie Yung) to protect the assassin Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) on his way to the Netherlands to testify against the fictional dictator of Belarus, Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman), for war crimes. Of course, this dictator would rather not be indicted for crimes against humanity, so he’s hired the best thugs in the world to take Kincaid out, which is why Kincaid needs Bryce since he’s got little concern for making his personal safety a priority.

It’s part frat boy road trip, part Mission Impossible, and part The Odd Couple.

SLJ and Reynolds play off each other well. Their witty back-and-forths really emphasize the good on-screen chemistry the two men share, and it makes the duo a downright hilarious (maybe slightly guilty) pleasure to watch. Their opposites-attract friendship is one of the funniest that I can remember having watched in a film, and their respective love interests (Elodie Yung and Salma Hayek) are delightful on their own. In fact, Hayek’s performance as Sonia is probably my favorite of the film. Her angry Spanish-expletive tongue-lashing of any character who shares space with her or visits her in prison is probably the highlight of the film because it’s so unexpected and refreshing from an Academy Award nominated actor.

The soundtrack and cinematography are as entertaining to the audience as the script and acting. I found myself humming along with the recognizable rock songs, and I wasn’t put off by the extended chase or fight sequences, because they contained well-timed comedic punctuation.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard is funny. It’s action-packed. And, most shockingly, it doesn’t shy away from making the bad guy look truly evil. Too often action movie villains are almost likeable with their suave charisma and chiselled looks. Not so with Gary Oldman’s Dukhovich. You hate him, and you’re meant to. He represents a truly dark and despicable part of humanity, and I won’t say more than that for fear of spoilers.

In short, you should go see this film, because it’s the action comedy you didn’t know you needed. I am not ashamed to say that I laughed until I almost peed myself when Samuel L Jackson recounts the story of how he met his wife Sonia (Salma Hayek), and that I gripped the edge of my seat with anxiety when it came to the big finale of the story.

So if a sort-of buddy road trip with lots of guns and swear words is your thing, give The Hitman’s Bodyguard a try.

Also, SLJ has a song on the soundtrack, so check that out too.