Popping chemistry

When done right, action movies built around chalk-and-cheese protagonists are a box office bonanza. 


Director: Patrick Hughes
Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Ryan Reynolds, Salma Hayek, Elodie Yung, Gary Oldman, Richard E. Grant, Rod Hallett, Yuri Kolokolnikov, Michael Gor, Tine Joustra, Joaquim de Almeida, Donna Preston
Rating: (R16)
Four stars (out of five)

The Hitman’s Bodyguard (Rialto and Reading) definitely taps into this format.  It gives us Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) as an uptight security expert whose mantra is "boring is best" and Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson), who is pretty much every cool character Jackson has ever played recently.

In fact, the reluctant partnership between the unlikely pair yields plenty of humour and largely keeps this movie afloat.

Because they knew that they were mining this mostly for laughs, The Hitman’s Bodyguard is determinedly over-the-top for all the supposedly serious moments.  It has a body count similar to an Expendables film, which makes sense when you realise director Patrick Hughes was responsible for The Expendables 3.

Unfortunately, that film failed to teach him that extended shoot ’em up sequences are not that interesting, so instead of making things tighter he has turned the volume up to 11.

That said, The Hitman’s Bodyguard’s biggest problem is the amount of time it takes to get Darius and Michael in the same room.  Once the movie gets going, things brighten up considerably.

The comedy is no less formulaic than the action, but Jackson and Reynolds pop against each other. As a bonus, Salma Hayek is just as funny as Darius’ Latin firecracker wife Sonia.

- Christine Powley

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