Action movie formula goes sadly astray

Monday September 04, 2017 Written by Published in Environment
A scene from the fi lm The Hitman’s Bodyguard, which is now screening at Empire Cinema. 17090110 A scene from the fi lm The Hitman’s Bodyguard, which is now screening at Empire Cinema. 17090110

“Samuel L Jackson and Ryan Reynolds. Nick Fury and Deadpool.

 

Now, let’s make a movie.”

I imagine that the pitch meeting for The Hitman’s Bodyguard went something like that.

Don’t worry about the action scenes, or the dialogue, or the story – just put these two stars in a movie and the rest will work itself out.

Yeah… except it didn’t.

It seems as though the brain trust behind this movie was going for an iconic buddy-cop movie formula like Lethal Weapon, where two people who initially don’t get along eventually find a respect for each other.

Instead, they were so busy copying the formula, they forgot the “iconic” part.

The makers of Lethal Weapon, made sure to develop the characters beyond those that the actors were best known as.

Riggs (Mel Gibson) was a loose cannon who didn’t fear death, and Murtaugh (Danny Glover) was getting too old for this… OK maybe they weren’t too far from reality.

But in this effort, it’s just Reynolds looking suave and Jackson saying “mother” followed by an expletive: something that has been done before in better films.

In addition to the two stars, you get a wasted Gary Oldman’s (The Dark Knight) performance as an Eastern European dictator, and Salma Hayek (Grown Ups) in a foul-mouthed role that is occasionally funny but ultimately pretty tiresome.

The gist of the film is a failed bodyguard Michael Bryce (Reynolds) is asked to protect and export legendary hitman Darius Kincaid (Jackson) from London to The Hague in the Netherlands, where he will stand trial against the evil Dukhovich (Oldman).

He has only 24 hours to get him there, which is lucky because otherwise there really wouldn’t be any stakes at all.

Much of the actions centres around Jackson’s Kincaid, who gives the appearance of having been so jealous about being the only non-superhero in the Avengers films, that he asked to be one in this.

So he becomes basically a god with a gun, and you are told so much throughout the movie that he is unkillable, which really makes you wonder why he even needs a bodyguard in the first place.

It’s lucky that he does, however, as that is really the only time that the movie is occasionally fun, when Jackson and Reynolds are on screen together.

They genuinely look like they are having a good time, and although the exchanges aren’t exceptional, their charm and charisma can make you smile.

Otherwise, there isn’t too much to write home about.

The action is expectedly incoherent, as they don’t want to reveal to the audience that the main stars, who generally aren’t involved in the multiple fight scenes, are probably sipping coffee out back as faceless stunt doubles do the grunt work.

It makes it difficult to recognise what is happening, and while you are aware there is an action scene taking place, you probably wouldn’t be able to describe it.

The film is also overwhelmingly loud at points, and just like every action movie since Guardians of the Galaxy, they play recognisable tunes to add excitement to the dull action/ car chase sequences.

Although it does seem much focus was given to the story, what is the final draft is incredibly generic and a bit insulting.

Logic is thrown through the windshield as characters with minimal chemistry fall in love, just cause, and even if Jackson’s hitman being given a background is the best part of the movie, why does he need it?

Does Hollywood think that the only way we can care for someone is if they are in love or have a tragic backstory?

One part summed up the film for me.

Early on, two Interpol agents are talking about a mole in the agency who is secretly working for Dukhovich.

I was sure that it would be the female who was the mole, as that would be a totally unexpected twist.

But no, the next scene reveals that it really was the incredibly obvious foreign guy, who should have had a neon sign over his head displaying ‘bad guy’.

I thought that they were overplaying what would lead to a subtle misdirection; unfortunately, I gave the movie too much credit.

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