Plot: What’s it about?
The Hitman’s Bodyguard would feel right at home had it been released in the late 80’s or 90’s. It has the staple of the standard buddy film that we used to get on a frequent basis. Two big stars? Check. A plot that finds them having to connect despite their differences? Check. An R rating with plenty of profanity and violence? Check. An enjoyable way to spend 2 hours of your time? Well, let’s not get carried away here. I think a lot of one’s enjoyment of this film will depend on how tolerant you are of Ryan Reynolds and his usual antics. Of course there’s Samuel L. Jackson as well, but indeed Reynolds is an acquired taste, if you will. My feelings on him are still mixed, and I find him more irritating than amusing most of the time. I did enjoy him in Deadpool, but that was a unique superhero film to say the least. It doesn’t help that the majority ofHitman does feel recycled from better movies of the past.
Bodyguard Michael Bryce (Reynolds) is hired to protect a Japanese arms dealer, but things turn problematic when the man is shot in the head and killed. We cut to two years later where Michael’s life has changed considerably. He used to be a well-praised bodyguard, but that incident didn’t help matters. We learn that a ruthless dictator of Belarus is going to trial for several of his crimes. Gary Oldman plays Vladislav Dukhovich. He’s widely hated by many, but the trial is pretty much an open and shut case as most the witnesses are executed. That is until Darius Kincaid/Evans (Jackson) shows up on the scene. He’s one of the world’s most notorious hitmen and stands to testify against Dukhovich. It’s up to Bryce to get him to the court with no interruptions, but things are never that easy. Kincaid and Bryce are aware of each other and plenty of time is spent with the two of them bickering back and forth. Oldman is always an actor I enjoy watching, but he’s somewhat wasted here in the clichéd villain role.
As mentioned, your appreciation for this flick will really depend on your thoughts about Reynolds himself. I enjoyed moments of the film, but feel it was on auto-pilot too much of the time. The action sequences were routine and uninvolving and I never found the film that amusing at all. The constant bickering between the two leads grew old rather fast. I do appreciate getting an action flick today that earns its R rating and goes for it, but the script needed some work. It’s all too formulaic to garner much interest. The chemistry of the leads can only take it so far. I would’ve preferred maybe Ryan Gosling in the lead over Reynolds. There were scenes where I wasn’t sure what the filmmakers were trying to go for. The tone was a bit off during much of it, leaving it at odds with itself.
Video: How’s it look?
We get a quality transfer here as details are sharp throughout. This didn’t surprise me since it’s such a recent film, but you never know how things might turn out. There is indeed some bloodshed and the colors are deep and rich with no over saturation. The transfer is AVC encoded with a 2.39:1 ratio and will satisfy fans of the film. Background shots remained strong as well. I noticed that Oldman’s face looked quite bad in this film, but the details were even more evident here. There was a quick scene that might’ve explained this, but I’m unsure if it’s the actor himself or was written for his character. Regardless, I wanted to mention it.
Audio: How’s it sound?
Lionsgate is one of the few studios that doesn’t give you the shaft when you buy the Blu-ray. This, along with the 4K counterpart, contains a very active Dolby Atmos mix that’s sure to please. I’m still amazed at how good these Atmos mixes can sound. And this has just about everything that you’d think would be included in the movie – car chases, plenty of gunfire and just about everything in between. Bullets whiz by, tires screech and vocals sound superb. It’s everything a Dolby Atmos soundtrack should be and it’ll give your system a jolt of adrenaline while watching. A nice effort.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Audio Commentary – Director Patrick Hughes flies solo for this track and he seems genuinely pleased with the the outcome here. And why not? You’ve got Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson with a “buddy movie” that goes back to the days of 48 Hours and Lethal Weapon. Hughes goes dark in a few spots, but all in all it’s a great track that fans will surely love.
- Outtakes – Just over five minutes’ worth of shenanigans on the set, the highlight of which is an overflowing cappuccino machine. Yay! Yay?
- Deleted Scenes – For some odd reason, the deleted scenes are separate from the extended and alternate ones. In my eyes they’re all the same. At any rate, four are included.
- Call for Help
- Get Ivan
- A Leader Leads
- Making Plans
- Extended Scenes – Moving on, there are another four that are extended that add a little more to the story.
- Getting out Alive
- Is that your Car?
- I Live in this Building
- Welcome to Amsterdam
- Alternate Scenes – Finally, we’ve got these two which I really didn’t understand. Then again, that’s just me.
- Breaking Protocol
- Confrontation on the Roof
- The Hitman’s Bodyguard: A Love Story – A somewhat short (9 minutes) look at the making of the film, its origins and how they could find someone to pair with Ryan Reynolds; come to think of it, that might be a pretty daunting task. Some behind the scenes footage is shown along with comments from the director, writer and stars.
- Hitman vs. Bodyguard – A five minute montage of some choice scenes between Samuel L. Jackson’s character and Reynolds’ character. I didn’t really get the gist of it, but maybe I wasn’t supposed to?
- Dangerous Women – This is to ensure that Reynolds and Jackson don’t get all the screen time! We get a profile of two of the female characters and the filmmakers are out to show us that they can kick just as much ass as the men. Both Salma Hayek and Elodie Yung are featured as are some clips from the film.
- Big Action in a Big World – If the title didn’t give this away, I will now. This focuses on the action and stunts in the film as well as a few choice words from Ryan Reynolds about stunt coordinator, Greg Powell. It’s interesting to say the least, but nothing mind-blowing.
The Bottom Line
I can’t recommend this film even for fans of the two leads. It just goes through the motions and sits there. There are some good parts, but they don’t add up to a satisfying whole. Skip it.