The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review
Samuel L. Jackson plays Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds plays Ryan Reynolds in The Hitman’s Bodyguard, a mildly entertaining if somewhat forgettable action-comedy that is weak on laughs but consistently delivers more than a few action beats.
Neither actor does more than play himself—Reynolds tosses around a few sarcastic comments and Jackson fires off more than a couple “mother fuckers”—a clear sign that director Patrick Hughes and writer Tom O’Conner were more than willing to rely on the natural charisma of their stars. That’s all fine and good, except neither actor—as well respected as they are—are exactly known for elevating mediocre material.
And make no mistake: The Hitman’s Bodyguard is sort of mediocre.
Not terrible. Not painful. But mediocre.
Reynolds and Jackson do inject plenty of energy into the story (about a hitman, headed to trial to testify against a genocidal warlord, who is escorted by a bodyguard). Comedies rarely work on the strength of the talent alone; great—or even good—ones need solid writing that establish credible jokes and offer opportunities for their actors to thrive. Reynolds and Jackson have decent chemistry, but the pair never manages to find that sweet spot where they are able to play off each other in a synergistic way, in turn elevating the material and generating more laughs.
A result is that The Hitman’s Bodyguard, despite being an action-comedy, is not very funny. It has its moments for sure, but given the talent involved you’d expect a steadier dose of laughs. Relying on Jackson and Reynolds to say something silly is not enough.
Thankfully, the movie makes up for its lack of humor with some surprisingly decent action. The action won’t win any awards—action in action-comedies rarely does—but there are some moderately entertaining sequences. The action beats help gloss over the lack of humor, but not entirely.
The Hitman’s Bodyguard’s inability to find consistent laughs keep it from having much lasting value, but the action and natural charisma of its two leads keep it afloat. For late summer entertainment, there has been far worse.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.