Reynolds and Jackson close out the summer with an action-packed good time!

Director: Patrick Hughes/2017

This weekend, the summer winds down at the box-office with two films that will be battling it out for the top spot.  Both films are a lot of fun, and really should have been released at the start of summer so that we could have avoided all those box office duds.  The first film is Logan Lucky, and the other one is this film, The Hitman’s Bodyguard starring Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds.

Imagine a situation where Jackson’s Pulp Fiction character Jules Winnfield is still a killer by trade (now named Darius Kincaid) dropping F-bombs as only Samuel L. Jackson can, but is about to go testify against one of the most brutal former rulers of a satellite country inside the old Soviet Union.  Because of this, everyone is trying to kill Darius to silence his testimony, which would allow this evil man, Vladistav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman), to go free.  So why is this man cutting a deal with Interpol? Because as ruthless as he is, he loves his wife Sonia (Salma Hayek) who has been put in jail to get to Kincaid, and his cooperation could open the door to the prison allowing her to go free.

As it is, Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds are quite possibly the new Riggs & Murtaugh, calling to mind the polar opposite characters from Lethal Weapon.

When a simple Interpol transport of Kincaid from London to the International Criminal Court in The Hague goes awry, Interpol Agent Amelia (Elodie Yung) barely escapes with her life….and Darius.  Believing there to be a leak in her agency, she retreats and calls the only man she knows she can call for help, Michael Bryce (Reynolds).  Unfortunately, this is the same man she loves but who is convinced that she sabotaged his career as the world’s best bodyguard after losing a client causing him to be a pariah professionally.  Bryce still has the skills and is looking for the opportunity to climb back into respectability.  She hires him to protect Darius all the way to the Criminal Court.  The only problem? Darius, in his line of work as an assassin, has tried to kill Michael more times than Michael cares to remember.  Eventually, he accepts the job and becomes “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” as Jackson and Reynolds unleash a path of destruction all over Europe.

Reynolds has his uptight, play-by-the-rules sensibility that he has shown in the past in films like Safe House, The Proposal, etc., but has merged it perfectly with his Deadpool sarcasm to create a character that gives us the best of both worlds…as it relates to Ryan Reynolds.  Both he and Jackson just look like they’re having a lot of fun. As it is, Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds are quite possibly the new Riggs & Murtaugh, calling to mind the polar opposite characters from Lethal Weapon.  Salma Hayek also has lots of fun in her role as she bullies her poor cellmate into standing in the corner for large stretches of time and seeing her take on a whole bar of rude customers.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard isn’t meant to revolutionize the action-comedy genre, or really remake it either.  It simply exists to provide audiences with a fun, escapist experience, and does a good job of delivering on its goal.  Nothing is taken too seriously throughout a film that basically doubles as a Ford Motor Company commercial.  It also continues Ryan Reynold’s recent streak of starring in big budget R-rated action flicks that are almost certain to strike it big at the box office, with more Deadpool on the way.

Tom O’Connor turns in his only attempt at a scrip besides 2012’s Fire with Fire starring Bruce Willis and Josh Duhamel, proving that at if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again!  This script is much stronger than the little bit of the previous film that I have witnessed.

Detractors will naturally mention a plethora of issues surrounding the film, and many times their criticism is more than justified.  But this is a film that is easy to overlook its flaws because you are having fun just sitting back and letting it play.  This was not my initial impression, however, as the sound mixing at our screening was absolutely terrible.  For the first 15 minutes or so, all dialogue was extremely uneven as each character in the film had varying degrees of volume, coupled with the fact that the sound, including the score and sound effects, were overpowering to the point of almost being too painful….to my ears.  I like loud music, etc., but the volume at the start of the film was overwhelming.  Fortunately, this issue was made right in a relatively short amount of time allowing for us to enjoy the film.

So if you are looking for a fun film with everything that one loves about Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds, then this is a good one to see.  There will be plenty of Oscar-calibur films  being released over the fall, but sometimes it just feels right to sit back and enjoy the ride with no pretense that this type of film would even be able to compete with the other, much less want to.  The Hitman’s Bodyguard is a good way to wrap up the summer at the cineplex.