The Hitman's Bodyguard has been on my watch-list for a loooong time; so long that it seems to have changed streaming services twice! The problem was that, on paper, the premise seems a little boring and obvious, but I kept coming back to it because of the cast. I cannot imagine anyone reading about an action film with Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson with feeling a wry smile creep onto their lips. As far as comedic duos go, that's a pairing I've been wanting to see for quite some time.
Luckily, the movie took all of that potential and utilised it pretty efficiently. Both stars are excellent throughout and, for the most part, the surrounding cast slot around them perfectly. Of course, what that focus means is that the central plot is relatively thin. Ultimately, this is a movie about two smartass men getting from point A to point B, whilst a ridiculously well organised and well-financed group of disposable, generic "baddies" try to prevent them. That doesn't give much scope for deep, meaningful narrative, but the film does manage a surprising amount of character development, contemplative moments, and emotion. Consider it in the vein of an Avengers film and you'll know what I mean. There are quiet talking parts, they're just interspersed with shock comedy and violence 😉.
Which is totally fine and what you're watching for in the first place, so in a way you could consider The Hitman's Bodyguard a near-total triumph. Heck, they even manage to make the central story revolve around a relatively timely piece of societal introspection, even if the most ridiculous and contrived element of the entire film is easily that a powerful world leader would ever actually stand trial for international war crimes... I mean, there's suspension of disbelief and then there's the idea of a competent and empowered judicial branch of the UN, amirite?!?
Joking aside, the film has some ridiculous moments and some stupid jokes, but ultimately it made me laugh, it made me thrill, and it made me like all of the main characters to a degree which was definitely not expected. That Jackson and Reynolds riffing off one another is completely enjoyable is not surprising in the slightest, but that they made their characters so opposed yet compatible was. There's also a good amount of self-awareness to the film, with several moments taken to point out stupidities in modern action films whilst still finding the time to catapult Reynolds straight through a car windscreen into concrete with only a quip and moment of shock to show for it. The result is a ridiculous but thoroughly enjoyable ride that was well worth the wait.