THE REVIEW I WISH I COULD WRITE
The Hitman’s Bodyguard is a “comedy” where a bunch of nothing happens, Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson are tragically unfunny, and, inexplicably, Gary Oldman is a warlord. Almost nothing works. It’s my least favorite thing I have watched this year, and I saw Alien: Covenant. This movie made me put off writing for weeks. I knew once I wrote Dunkirk I was going to have to spend time actively thinking about this series of images spliced together with added sound.
Go home, tell people how much you love them, and cry yourself to sleep knowing this movie exists.
THE REAL REVIEW
In The Hitman’s Bodyguard, a disgraced bodyguard (Ryan Reynolds) is called in to give protection to an infamous assassin (Samuel L. Jackson) so that the assassin can give necessary testimony that will hopefully put a warlord behind (Gary Oldman) behind bars.
As you can tell, I did not care for this movie. I saw this movie for free about a month ago and was mad that I burnt precious gasoline in order to get to the movie theater. I’m not sure how a movie that already seemed so uninspired could leave me so deeply disappointed, but here we are. This was probably the most joyless experience I have had at a movie in quite a while.
So, what worked in this movie? It had a finite run time. End credits did indeed roll, releasing the audience from its monstrous hold.
That’s not entirely fair. First, this movie feels too long. It has so many endings. Like, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King level endings. The movie has a freeze frame of a character laughing, fades to black, and then has another scene. It’s baffling.
Also, to be kindly fair, I didn’t hate every second of this movie. The scene where Jackson’s character tells the story of how he met his wife (Salma Hayek) is moderately entertaining, enough that the rage inside me cooled down to a dull roar during it. While she was serving at a bar, a customer hit on her, and she ends up beating the ever living hell out of everyone in the bar. She might have killed a guy. And all this happens while Lionel Richie’s “Hello” plays. I am a sucker for a scene where the music in no way matches the action that we are seeing on screen, and this scene does that sufficiently well.
I genuinely believe that was the only extended sequence that I enjoyed. Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson are two of the more entertaining personalities in films right now. Typically, even when nothing else is working in the film, Reynolds can improve it slightly with a dry, cruel remark. The dialogue that Tom O’Conner (whose only other writing credit is a movie that made $2.4 million) gives him is so tragically uninteresting, that even Reynolds delivery could not begin to save it. I understand how people can dislike Reynolds in movies. His performances are typically very run of the mill, and his prickly attitude rubs some the wrong way. I’ve never really thought that. Until this movie. Deadpool 2 can’t come soon enough.
Usually, Samuel L. Jackson can make me smile simply by saying “motherfu*cer.” (Now you can’t tell what word I said. Censorship works). Hell, the promoter or whoever represented the production company at this sneak preview of the movie started by saying “at the end of the movie …you can tweet if you think Samuel L. Jackson says ‘motherfu*cer,’ too many times.” This is a joke because surely that is an impossibility. How can Jackson, a man who had “bad mother fu*cer” etched onto his lightsaber during the Star Wars prequels, possibly use that word so many times that it’s no longer entertaining? Well, Tom O’Connor, alongside director Patrick Hughes (who did the third Expendables movie), found a way. They found a way to take two of the most consistently entertaining actors and rip away every entertaining aspect of their personality.
Beyond that, this movie is remarkably mean-spirited, especially for a comedy. The first time we see Gary Oldman’s character, he is murdering a man’s family in front of him. I understand that he is the villain and that the movie does not want us to like him, but this feels an overly harsh way to get that across. Another brutal scene occurs when Ryan Reynolds’s character is kidnapped and tortured by being simultaneously waterboarded and electrocuted. Neither of these moments is played for comedy (although I’m sure Reynolds attempted to be funny during the torture scene, which worked in Deadpool when it had writers that cared/tried), but the rest of the movie does not have nearly enough bright spots to make up for knowing that a small child was just executed.
Additionally, Hayek’s character is in prison (Jackson’s assassin character has only agreed to testify against a genocidal dictator because she will be released. One of our heroes, everyone). She has an overweight cellmate, who is only ever seen from behind. All that we know about this character is that she is afraid of Hayek’s strong personality, and is overweight. At one point, she is so afraid, that she passes gas. Because O’Connor and Hughes believe that overweight people are rife with comedic opportunities, and should be mocked (this feels like a fair inference based on the less than sixty seconds of screen time that the character gets). If I’m being honest, this whole sequence played so poorly with me, that the movie was going to have to build up a lot of goodwill over the rest of its runtime in order to even briefly win me over. It never even came close.
Other than Lionel Richie’s “Hello” and Foreigner’s “I Wanna Know What Love Is,” I do not really remember any music in this movie. This might be composer Atli Örvarsson’s fault, but realistically, the blame probably lies with me, because I allowed Hughes and O’Connor to fill me with such rage, that all I could hear was the color red. This movie raised to me to another plain where my rage allowed me to hear colors.
Sources The Hitman's Bodyguard IMDb Page http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1959563/ Tom O'Connor's IMDb Page http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4468296/?ref_=tt_ov_wr Patrick Hughes's IMDb Page http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0400850/?ref_=tt_ov_dr Samuel L. Jackson's Lightsaber http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Badass-Inscription-Samuel-L-Jackson-Star-Wars-Lightsaber-Had-It-104457.html Fire with Fire Box Office http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/intl/?page=&id=_fFIREWITHFIRE01 Photo Credits Header Image http://pulseradio.fm/2017/08/17/hitmans-bodyguard-movie-review/ Liz Lemon https://giphy.com/gifs/30-rock-hate-liz-lemon-Rdl4asfd2Wo4U