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|The Hitmans Bodyguard|
dir Patrick Hughes
scr Tom O'Connor
prd David Ellison, Mark Gill, Dana Goldberg, Matthew O'Toole, John Thompson, Les Weldon
with Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L Jackson, Gary Oldman, Salma Hayek, Elodie Yung, Joaquim de Almeida, Sam Hazeldine, Rod Hallett, Ori Pfeffer, Barry Atsma, Kirsty Mitchell, Richard E Grant
release UK/US 18.Aug.17
17/UK Summit 1h51
A fine mess: Reynolds and Jackson
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
This film is so raucously energetic that we never really mind that it's utterly preposterous. The filmmakers indulge in silly nonstop carnage in which everything on-screen bursts into a massive ball of flames, while the digital effects that render the mayhem are dodgy at best. But it doesn't matter when the film is anchored by a terrific buddy pairing like Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L Jackson, both of whom are clearly having a ball.
Disgraced security company boss Michael (Reynolds) has been sulking in London for two years, trying to mend his reputation. Then he gets a call from ex-girlfriend Amelia (Yung), an Interpol agent who needs his help escorting ruthless assassin Darius (Jackson) from lock-up in England to testify at The Hague, where vicious Belarusian leader Dukhovich (Oldman) has been charged with war crimes. Dukhovich's henchmen have made sure no witnesses have made it to trial yet. And they know it won't be easy to stop Darius, whose convict wife Sonia (Hayek) calls him Cucaracha, an unkillable cockroach.
Director Hughes carefully maintains a high-octane pace, packing in more frenetic set-pieces than seems humanly possible. Each wildly destructively assault plays out with a flurry of hyper-violence, spiralling into a whirring chase with bullets and smashed cars flying in every direction. From England to Amsterdam to The Hague, innocent bystanders run in terror from the carnage, and the fact that it's all played for laughs sits somewhat uneasily.
Reynolds and Jackson make a hugely engaging duo, blending bickering banter with both darker murderous impulses and gentle camaraderie as they compare their love lives. Reynolds essentially does his Deadpool schtick: knowing swagger and physical prowess, but here with a welcome undercurrent of self-doubt. And Jackson hilariously laughs at everything around him, diving impulsively into each situation. Aside from the fabulous scene-stealing Hayek, none of the supporting cast can do much with their thin roles.
O'Connor's script has some surprising touches, both in the romantic sideroads (flashbacks are cartoonishly violent but oddly sweet) and the morality of a hitman who kills bad guys and a bodyguard who keeps them alive. But these are throwaway gags in a movie that's basically a nonstop barrage of carnage. It's the kind of film that keeps the audience in fits of laughter for a couple of hours, and then is forgotten fairly quickly afterwards. And we definitely wouldn't mind if the gang reunited for another romp.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2017 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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