The Hitman's Bodyguard, C+
Rated R, 118 minutes
The new action thriller "The Hitman's Bodyguard" is a fun, late-summer guilty pleasure helped by the charming banter of its leads and some well-choreographed action sequences. As for the script, it's lazy, full of cliches and pot-holes that keep from being a smart-ride, but enough to please those looking for that last, quick summer fling.
A special protection agent (Ryan Reynolds) is tasked with guarding the life of his mortal enemy, who is one of the world's most notorious hitmen (Samuel L. Jackson), and taking him from the United Kingdom to the International Court of Justice. On their way, they are on high-speed car chases and boat escapes as deadly assassins are pursuing them and they are forced to work together in order to defeat a ruthless, powerful and bloodthirsty Eastern European dictator (Gary Oldman).
"The Hitman's Bodyguard" is directed by "The Expendables' 3" Patrick Hughes and is written by Tom O'Connor is a bloody, violently fun action comedy that has the two leads traipsing across Europe to get one of them as a key witness against a bloody dictator. The film's real inspiration is the fun casting of Jackson and Reynolds, and the film plays to their strengths: the loud, unhinged appeal of Jackson, and Reynolds sarcasm, both of which are on fine display here.
Without "Bodyguard's" boundless energy and wit, the film wouldn't work near as well; in other words, the unfocused script, which underwent heavy rewrites, is as muddled and messy as some of the situations the leads find themselves in. The main premise isn't entirely clear: why would Jackson's character, who's a notorious hitman, need a bodyguard anyway, not to mention Oldman's evil dictator is considerably underused here, and Salma Hayek, as the hitmen's equally notorious wife, is unnecessary.
Thankfully there's enough decent action sequences to keep audiences engaged, especially two in the last act that'll make you think twice about driving on the highway in Europe. There's also loads of blood, violence and Jackson using the "MF" word about a thousand times, which makes "The Hitman's Bodyguard" a strong rated R. Even with all that, it still feels too long, in a way that you might expect a Bruce Willis cameo (spoiler: he doesn't).
Entertaining in a junky sort of way, "The Hitman's Bodyguard" is worth seeing for some laughs and the charming Reynolds and Jackson, though you may not remember much after it's over.