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Expect very low mileage: Review of The Hitman’s Bodyguard

Car chases, flying bullets, two tough guys who don’t get along until they suddenly do... this flick offers little fun and nothing new.

movie reviews Updated: Aug 24, 2017 17:12 IST
Dipanjan Sinha
Dipanjan Sinha
Hindustan Times
Action,Special effects,Car chases
If it feels like deja vu, you’ve got the right idea. The Hitman’s Bodyguard uses a template that died two decades ago, and only the star cast of Samuel L Jackson, Ryan Reynolds and Salma Hayek renders it bearable.
THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD
  • Direction: Patrick Hughes
  • Actors: Samuel L Jackson, Ryan Reynolds, Salma Hayek
  • Rating: 2 / 5

The Hitman’s Bodyguard begins with explosion and shots fired. Then men emerge, all dressed in suits. There’s a top shot of a city. Cars – big and small – bounce about; there’s an impossible-to-do jump; armed men die in every scene.

It’s the formulaic car chase bromance, with one critical problem — that formula stopped working in the 1990s.

So it doesn’t help that the ingredients are all there: One carefree, funny hitman (Samuel L Jackson), a sarcastic bodyguard (Ryan Reynolds), a foul-mouthed, yoga-loving girlfriend (Salma Hayek); a strained relationship between the two men that quickly proceeds to soul-searching talks between the chases and gun-slinging.

Fast cars, check. Foul mouths, check. Yoga-loving girlfriend, also check. Maybe the movie set out trying to be ironic. Either way, it offers too few laughs and far too many predictable plot turns.

As Jackson and Reynolds dash across Europe, from London to the Hague, they must fight off henchmen sent by a ruthless Eastern European dictator being tried for war crimes. It all gets pretty tiresome pretty soon.

The one thing that rescues the film is the fact that director Patrick Hughes seems intently aware of its predictability. So he mixes in a dash of fun, some irony, even a few tongue-in-cheek digs at the genre itself.

Still, there are only a few moments that stand out — notably one in which Jackson sings a very heartfelt rendition of ‘Nobody gets out alive’. The LOLs are too few and far-between. If not for Reynolds, Jackson and Hayek, it would have been unwatchable. Even they can only manage to make it slightly less so.

First Published: Aug 24, 2017 17:12 IST