Dir: Patrick Hughes | Cast: Selma Hayek, Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L Jackson | US | Action Thriller
Patrick Hughes (The Expendables 3) must have been on auto-pilot when he made this tonally awkward generic buddy thriller – a sweary throwback to the far superior Midnight Run (1988).
In place of Charles Grodin and Robert De Niro we get Samuel L. Jackson, with Ryan Reynolds playing his body guard, in an action thriller with plenty of action but very few thrills or indeed, laughs, for that matter: the romance is provided by Jackson’s feisty relationship with his pouty wife (Salma Hayek) who is serving time for stabbing someone to death with a bottle. And that’s just for openers.
The action opens as Reynolds and Jackson are off to Holland to give evidence against Gary Oldman’s curious former president of Belarus in The Hague. This incorporates a rather good chase scene through the streets of Amsterdam which brings out the best in Hughes’ directing skills, but the film somehow misjudges the mood musically with I Want to Know Where Love Is playing when the pair are later seen drinking together in a bar.
Ultimately, this is a film that takes itself far too seriously, unlike its predecessor that exuded a wry eye-winking warmth throughout, providing a perfect foil for the rather silly shenanigans of the action-thriller going on around it. As a result THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD is all action and no trousers in all the worse kind of ways, and despite Reynolds and Jackson doing the honours, it is largely unmemorable. MT
ON RELEASE NATIONWIDE FROM 18 AUGUST 2017