While thematically there may be more important films currently in theaters, THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD seems equally important for the amount of joy it brings. During a time when anger, hatred, stress, and a sense of grave concern overwhelm many people, we need a break from the negativity and an opportunity to just laugh. This hilarious action-comedy brings plenty of laughter. It elicits giggles, belly laughs, and even those day-after laughs when you recall a line of dialogue or a scene. Tom O’Connor’s screenplay provides many quotable lines, but much of the comedy’s success should be attributed to the talent delivering the material.
If there were an Oscar for best casting, it should go to the geniuses who thought to pair Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson in a buddy film, or a not-buddy film, as the case may be. While the characters’ interactions are somewhat confrontational, the chemistry between them is wonderful. Reynolds and Jackson’s onscreen pairing is one of the best of the decade, and I only hope the two join up again in the future. I seriously want to hug the casting directors for that and for giving the role of crude and sassy Sonia to Salma Hayek. She takes the role and just runs with it. While this won’t be a critically acclaimed performance, it is my favorite of hers because I just loved the character so much.
Aside from the comedy and performances, THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD impresses with its stunning scenery and nail-biting action. Director Patrick Hughes (THE EXPENDABLES 3) adds a level of holy crap to many of the sequences. While generally not a fan of heavily edited action sequences, I liked how the multiple cuts added to the frenetic energy of the scenes, making them more intense and enjoyable. If the success of an action movie could be measured by how frequently we catch ourselves holding our breaths, then this film’s success scores pretty high for me.
In addition to the action, the photography is exceptional. Filmmakers who capture the essence of a location deserve to be recognized. We’ve all seen incredible action films shot in beautiful locations, but very few films manage to eloquently capture the environment the way that THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD does. Even though London, Manchester, and Amsterdam are backdrops to what is going on, they are captured so beautifully, essentially making them additional characters in the film. The beauty of these varied locations truly comes alive on screen, and I appreciate getting a better sense of the cities than I would’ve expected from a film that’s not focused on tourism.
If you don’t want to see it for the scenery, go for the action. If the action’s not enough, go for the comedy. If THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD doesn’t make you laugh, see a doctor because your funny bone is broken.