As you might expect from the title, “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” is a hyper-violent, high-body count male-bonding comedy that rides on the charisma and chemistry of stars Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds, in that order. Don’t expect great dialogue, but do expect f-bombs and mf-bombs exploding at every possible opportunity from everyone’s mouth, including the alluring Salma Hayek as Jackson’s wife.
While it has much in common with the reality presented by old Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies violent animated cartoons, this movie isn’t for children. It’s rated R for violence and language.
The movie begins by setting up AAA-rated executive protection agent, Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) as an over-planning, take-all-possibilities and have an A-to-Z plan well-ordered man living in an architecturally beautiful sparkling clean glass house that seems ready for its next Architectural Digest photo shoot. Everything is in order, but doesn’t looked lived in. He kisses his lady love, Amelia (Elodie Yung), good-bye and goes to work.
Protecting a Japanese arms dealer named Kurosawa and his wives, Bryce manages to get him to a private jet unharmed only to see him gunned down once inside the airplane. Two years later, Bryce is peeing into a plastic bottle working jobs for unsavory characters who leave his backseat smelling like ass.
Elsewhere, at another place and time, Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman) is murdering his way to power. Now, he just happens to be before the International Court of Justice. All the testimony so far has been hearsay and all the witnesses have been mysteriously killed except for one Darius Kincaid (Jackson), an American hitman of international infamy.
Kincaid will testify so that his wife, Sonia (Hayek), can go free. Amelia, revealed to be an Interpol agent, is the lead on the protection team, but the journey from Manchester, England (a port city) to the Hague court (Netherlands) is filled with bullets, blood and bodies. There’s a mole inside Interpol and Amelia’s team is ambushed. Kincaid is wounded, but Amelia gets him to a safe house.
Kincaid calls Sonia on a cellphone, and their talk is as sweet as yowling street cats fighting, and all the anesthetic he needs to extract a bullet from his leg. Amelia decides she must call in a favor: Bryce. Bryce doesn’t deliver pizza, but brings a few bags of blood for a necessary transfusion. This is Bryce’s chance to get back to the triple A-level clientele, but there are a few obstacles: Kincaid has tried to kill Bryce 28 times and Bryce blames Amelia for the loose lips that led to Kurosawa’s death.
Bryce has to get Kincaid to the Hague court in about 24 hours. So begins this bloody buddy road trip. As Kincaid, Jackson is loud and loose and about as immortal as a cockroach. Bryce is prepared for everything except Kincaid’s irrepressible independence and his loud conversations. Kincaid notes, ” This guy single-handedly ruined the word motherfucker.” And yet nuns find Kincaid more lovable than Bryce.
It’s all about the journey and the journey is about love, building on Kincaid’s love for Sonia, his father and eventually this budding bromance. When Kincaid recounts how he met Sonia, the flashback pushes us into a vibrantly colored Latin American bar where Sonia is a waitress that knows how to handle sexual harassment and bar brawls. She’s as foul-mouthed and fierce as Kincaid, leaving him quivering with excitement with her expert use of broken beer bottles. Kincaid gets gushy over gushing blood. And he helps Bryce get back his lady love Amelia.
Kincaid is not as eloquent as Jackson’s Jules Winnfield in “Pulp Fiction.” He mixes metaphors, saying things like, “You know, when life gives you shit, you make Kool-Aid.” Bryce calls him on it, saying, “Life doesn’t usually give you shit and then turn it into a beverage.”
Yet in the end, who is to be applauded, Kincaid asks, “he who kills evil motherfuckers, or he who protects them?” Kincaid’s backstory will give you an unexpected last-minute jolt to your social conscience but that’s as close as this movie gets to meaningful dialogue.
“The Hitman’s Bodyguard” isn’t the movie as art or in any way trying to deal with real problems in a real world. This is a live-action movie made in the mode of comic book hyper violence with plenty of stunts, car wrecks and explosions, including some obvious green screening, on the way to a happy ending. It’s a pleasant parody against scenic Europe for people who recognize how ridiculous the trigger-happy bromance genre has become.