The Hitman's Bodyguard ★★★½

Time for my first review of a preview event movie! Actually, The Hitman's Bodyguard was my first movie preview in general. Pretty cool experience, definetly get to the theater more than twenty minutes early or all the seats will be full though. Thankfully there were a couple seats in the row second closest to the screen when I arrived, but this made the experience of watching the movie a bit uncomfortable.

The first trailer I saw for The Hitman's Bodyguard was awesome. Then I saw some commercials for it that made me hesitant. There was a pit in my stomach that said, "Oh no. I hope it's not stupid. This could be bad." Thankfully, after watching it last night at a preview event, I can say it isn't bad or stupid. Its not extremely smart or anything, but it's a big step up from dumb comedies such as 2016's Ghostbusters reboot. It's not a great movie, but it is a slightly above average modern comedy.

The plot of The Hitman's Bodyguard is pretty self explanatory. One of the world's most dangerous hitman is needed as witness to the trial of a genocidal dictator, thus the hitman needs a bodyguard. A bodyguard for a hitman. The Hitman's Bodyguard.

When the film first opens, after the very first and fun sequence, it's very messy. Comparable to Rogue One's first act, the film cuts back and forth between completely separate characters and places. A couple characters barely have anything to do in the movie besides being showcased for one of these cuts too, making it a weaker opening act than Rogue One's in my opinion. One of these quick scenes introduces the antagonist of the film who proves himself to be an extremely awful human being right off the bat, but he only pops up in a couple of scenes over the course of the movie's runtime. Due to this he barely has any developement, all you ever know about him is that he's evil. This was a bit of a disappointment because in a movie centered around the secretive jobs of hitman and secret agents I would prefer there to be twists in the plot of a villain. A surprise villain even. You don't get anything like that here, so don't get your hopes up.

Continuing to talk about any twists The Hitman's Bodyguard might have, there aren't really any which is a bit of a missed opportunity. I guess there's one twist, but it's pretty darn predictable. My other big problem with this movie is the majority of its action. The camera is constantly shaking during the action, making it very hard to see what's going on. This is really too bad, because in one or two scenes it seems like super cool things are happening. I found myself wishing it would slow down so bad! There are a couple of cut away flashback scenes that finally center the camera to show you what's going on, but I wish they were fleshed out into full scenes because of how awesome the quick but balanced shots of action were.

Back to the longer action scenes in the film, it relies too often on not only shaky cam but car chases. These sequences mostly go on too long causing a bit of boredom, but the final chase of the film is genuinely great and fully entertaining. Maybe the action scenes I didn't care much for would be easier to see further from the screen? Again, I was super close to the front of the theater which could have hindered my experience.

Now let's get into the positives this film has to offer. As soon as the first act ends and Ryan Reynolds meets up with Samuel L Jackson, there's a plethora of entertaining hijinks to be had. These two actors have great chemistry and their traits as characters that make them polar opposites also create tons of funny situations. The humor in fact surprised me in how consistently good it is, I was laughing just about every time the film wanted me to. It was certainly fun to laugh along with, a step up from most dumb modern comedies.

Stylistically, The Hitman's Bodyguard is mostly bland though a couple of shots and visual gags were reminiscent of the great Edgar Wright. Sadly this style only shows through for brief seconds in a couple scenes, while it was there I did enjoy it though. The great soundtrack in scenes like the car chases also reminded me of Edgar Wright's Baby Driver, I found myself longing for these sequences to be set in time with the music like in that film to no avail. In terms of original soundtrack I was surprised by a couple of very catchy spy themes involving brief vocal noises such as "Ah-woo". Good stuff.

In addition to the main plot, there are a couple of romantic side plots. I felt Reynolds' didn't work that much, him and his romantic interest never had any scenes to showcase any chemistry they might have. On the other hand, Jackson's relationship with Salma Hayek's character is fantastically fun. It yields a couple of really great scenes and I wish it had more focus than the first romantic plot.

The Hitman's Bodyguard has a lot of laughs and one liners that have stuck with me, there are some scenes of brief emotion but not much substance behind it. In addition the majority of action and the entire first act are very messy. This comedy is worth a watch at some point though thanks to its good sense of humor and the chemistry between its two leads.

B