Director Patrick Hughes has tainted “The Expendables” franchise with “The Expendables III,” which was forced to be rated PG-13, because of an illegal DVD quality download weeks before its release. I named it number 10 on my worst films of 2014.
Three years later, he manned up with “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” an R-rated action comedy starring Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, and while I didn’t eat much of the jokes up as everyone in the audience did, I actually found it to be goofy fun.
Reynolds stars as Michael Bryce, a once successful protection agent, asked by his former lover Amelia (Elodie Yung), an Interpol agent, to transfer a top assassin to testify against a ruthless dictator (Gary Oldman) in the Netherlands. This too assassin I am speaking of is Darius Kincaid (Jackson), who tried to kill Michael multiple times, and agrees to testify against the dictator in exchange for his wife’s (Salma Hayek) prison release.
There are a few moments that tickled me, but I mostly didn’t laugh at the jokes in which Reynolds and Jackson trade one-liners, argue, and fight with each other. On the other hand, these two give nice performances; giving me the opposite reaction I’ve had with Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara in “Hot Pursuit,” or more recently Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron in “Baywatch.” These two are likable in the ways they have their own issues, and you’re never irritated by them.
The story does go all over the place with Interpol traitors (mainly speaking Joaquim de Almeida), terrorists firing bullets, and multiple car crashes. And yet, I had some fun with some of the chases, whether on foot or in cars. I consider “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” a major improvement on Patrick Hughes’ disastrous take on “The Expendables III.” Imperfect, but fun.