The renowned bodyguard Michael Bryce’s (Ryan Reynolds) services were in great demand until one of his clients, a Japanese tycoon (Tsuwayuki Saotome), was executed. That botched operation simultaneously ruined his professional reputation and his romantic relationship with Interpol agent Amelia (Elodie Yung). His career took such a hit that several years later he was homeless and reduced to chauffeuring clients around in a beat-up jalopy.
A chance at redemption — and at winning back Amelia — arrives when she approaches him to protect Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson). He’s the key prosecution witness in the trial at the International Court of Justice of Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman), an Eastern European dictator who is accused of committing genocide.
Amelia has discovered that there’s a mole inside of Interpol who has compromised Kincaid’s safety. So, the only hope of getting him to court alive is by hiring someone who is outside the organization.
However, Darius is a vicious hit man who has murdered hundreds of people. Despite being disgusted by the assassin’s grisly record, Michael agrees to escort him from a British prison to The Hague where he’s scheduled to testify in less than 24 hours. In return for his cooperation, Darius’s wife, Sonia (Salma Hayek), will be released from prison where she has been since she slit someone’s throat in a gruesome bar fight.
That is the point of departure of The Hitman’s Bodyguard, a comedy directed by Patrick Hill (The Expendables 3). The film unfolds as an action adventure in which the two protagonists are impervious to harm from bullets, explosives, pyrotechnics, or boat and car crashes.
However, the movie works because of the palpable screen chemistry generated between Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds. And it does help that each of these indestructible characters has been humanized by a love interest.
The pair exchange lighthearted barbs while having a close brush with death every other minute as they negotiate their way through an endless gauntlet of assassins.
Excellent (****). Rated R for graphic violence and pervasive profanity. Running time: 118 minutes. Distributor: Summit Entertainment.