HOLLYWOOD—Let me be clear; “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” is not a remake of the 1992 drama “The Bodyguard” starring Kevin Costner and the late great Whitney Houston. However, I love the notion that this film pokes at the classic moments of that film by implementing a bit of comedy along the way. “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” works not just because it’s hilarious, but because of the great chemistry between actors Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds.
On first glance, one would argue this pairing would not work, but considering both Jackson and Reynolds are gentlemen who can exhibit comedy at the drop of the time, that synergy works well with the narrative. As a viewer you are constantly wondering if you can trust this character, and rather they have an ulterior motive that you can pinpoint before the actual reveal takes place. The story revolves around disgraced bodyguard Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds), who is doing his best to grapple with a failed mission that left one of his client’s dead.
So it’s no secret that Bryce is the hero of the flick, but he does have a worthy opponent in Vlasdislav Dukhovich portrayed by the great Gary Oldman. Yes, Oldman has been known to play the villain throughout his career, and here is another role where he proves as a merciless dictator of Belarus, he captures the screen. The authorities suspect they might finally have a chance to take down Dukhovich, with the testimony of hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson).
So Kincaid and Bryce have similar pasts, and both are entrenched to women they love, but at the same time don’t always trust. In Bryce case, he suspects his former flame may have played a role in his failed mission, whereas Kincaid is only willing to testify against Dukhovich if his hot-headed wife, played with hilarity by the feisty Salma Hayek is released from prison. Both Bryce and Kincaid have a bit of history with one another that constantly places them at odds with one another. I would argue it’s a battle of the egos to prove: who is the better mercenary. At the same time, both can’t help, but try to get under the others skin by trading jabs at one another during their mission.
“The Hitman’s Bodyguard” doesn’t bring anything new to the table in terms of its story. It relies on the notion of planting seeds of doubt in the spectator to question who can be trusted and who the possible mole aimed at protecting Dukhovich, and take out Bryce and Kincaid. While many might enter the theater looking to see action, and you do indeed get plenty of it, it is the witty comedy and banter between Jackson and Reynolds characters that helps the movie shine. If you’re looking for a bellyache of a laugh look no further.