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The Hitman's Bodyguard (2017)

Lionsgate
4K UHD Released: 11/21/2017

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Review by Mike Long, Posted on 11/9/2017

Do you remember the old Reese's Peanut Butter Cups commercials where someone would get their chocolate stuck in someone's peanut butter and vice versa? These ads produced the "Two great tastes which taste great together" slogan. This is a prime example of how when we love two things, we want to see them put together. Marvel used to have comic called Marvel Team-Up which would pair Spider-Man with a different guest star every month. (There was also Marvel Two-In-One with The Thing, but I never felt that title was as effective.) So, the point is that if you put two good things together, it's guaranteed to be good, right? The Hitman's Bodyguard would like to argue against that idea.

Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) was a hotshot personal protection professional who took pride in his ability to take care of high-profile clients. But, when a customer was assassinated, Michael's life went into a spiral, as he lost his reputation and his girlfriend, Interpol agent Amelia (Elodie Yung). Now, years later, Michael spends his time guarding very low-level executives. That all changes, when Amelia contacts him and asks for help. She has been charged with escorting notorious assassin Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) to The Hague so that he can testify against a dictator (Gary Oldman), but her team has been compromised. Michael reluctantly accepts the task, as he still has feelings for Amelia, but hates Kincaid. Michael will soon learn that getting from England to the Netherlands is not easy, especially when the person who you are escorting wants to escape.

Samuel L. Jackson has been doing his thing for over 20 years now, and he's known for his knack for playing very angry characters, who yell a lot, but still manage to be funny. Ryan Reynolds began his career as a child actor and he's bounced from genre-to-genre in his career. But, whether doing a romance or his ground-breaking role as Deadpool, he has always shown a penchant for comedy. Despite their different styles -- again, Jackson is known for yelling (see the skit from Chappelle's Show) while Reynolds is far more subtle (he would make a great Fletch) -- this pairing should have rendered a great buddy comedy.

And perhaps with a different script, it could have. I hate to accuse movies of this, but there is too much story here. We are here to see Jackson and Reynolds play off of one another, but the screenplay by Tom O'Connor is needlessly complex. We could have simply been told that Michael needed to transport Kincaid and the movie could have taken off from there. But, instead, we have the plot involving the dictator and the mole and a long action sequence that prevents the two stars from getting together until the end of the first act.

From there, the movie can never find the balance between action and humor or a palatable tone. The action sequences are well-done and O'Connor clearly has a grip on the craft, but they are also noticeably violent, with several characters getting their brains blown out. As noted earlier, Michael and Kincaid have a history, and their bickering, which should be good-natured, is tainted with far too much vitriol. So, not only is Kincaid always trying to escape, but they hate each other. The result is a movie which was advertised as a comedy, but is far too mean-spirited for its own good. The Hitman's Bodyguard wants to be like buddy-comedies of the past, such as 48 Hrs. and Lethal Weapon, but of which were very violent, but also knew how to keep things from going too dark.

The Hitman's Bodyguard isn't a complete mess or a truly bad movie, but it is a missed opportunity. Again, the action sequences are well-staged, and there are a few humorous moments, but like so many modern action movies, the movie simply becomes background noise. The plot gets in the way of the story and the tone gets in the way of the humor. And, in the end, Reynolds and Jackson simply don't spend enough time on-screen together. This is the kind of movie where the viewer should have come away thinking about many key scenes, but I'm hard-pressed to remember any specifics.

The Hitman's Bodyguard loves name-dropping cars on 4K UHD courtesy of Lionsgate. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an HEVC 2160p transfer which runs at an average of 70 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no noticeable grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look very good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The picture shows a nice amount of depth, and the picture is never soft. The crispness of the image delivers a very, very clear look. The Disc carries a Dolby Atmos audio track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 5.5 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The action sequences are a banquet of surround, stereo and subwoofer effects. Every gunshot, explosion, and punch is brought to life through the bass channel, as the rear channels deliver detailed, individual sounds, all of which serves to place us in the middle of the action.

The Hitman's Bodyguard 4K UHD contains a large assortment of extras. We begin with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Director Patrick Hughes. We get a 5-minute reel of OUTTAKES. The Disc contains four DELETED SCENES which run about 5 minutes, four EXTENDED SCENES which run about three minutes, and two ALTERNATE SCENES which run about three minutes. "The Hitman's Bodyguard: A Love Story" (9 minutes) focuses on the buddy-movie aspects of the film exploring the relationship between Michael and Darius. "Hitman vs. Bodyguard" (4 minutes) is simply a reel of clips from the film which show how Michael and Darius are different. "Dangerous Women" (8 minutes) looks at Salma Hayek and Elodie Yung's characters and features comments from the actresses. "Big Action in a Big World" (8 minutes) has Hughes and Stunt Coordinator Greg Powell talking about the action sequences, and showing some on-set footage of how the scenes were staged.

Review Copyright 2017 by Mike Long