Despite a yeoman effort from a talented and likable cast, "The Hit- man's Bodyguard" often resembles a deal made in a studio's boardroom more than an actual motion picture. This notion is augmented by the knowledge that Tom O'Connor's original script was originally intended as a straight dramatic thriller, but underwent a frantic two-week revision prior to production in an effort to turn the picture into a buddy comedy. A broad and exceedingly violent live action version of a Road Runner cartoon, "The Hit-man's Bodyguard" concerns the efforts of a down- on- his-luck security agent charged with transporting an international assassin safely from England to the Netherlands to testify in the International Court of Justice in a trial against the brutal dictator of Belarus. Sent to prevent them from reaching their destination are a rogue's gallery of enemy agents as cartoonish as any you've seen since the old Dick Tracy comic strip. Naturally, the bodyguard and the hit-man despise each other at first. The security agent is played by Ryan Reynolds and the assassin is played by Samuel L. Jackson. And part of the problem they need to overcome is that their characters have met beforein fact, they've exchanged gunshots. And while both actors do their best with a script which is long on comical interplay, mayhem, and bloodshed, but short on actual plot or logic, Reynolds and Jackson are never quite able to persuade the audience they develop enough mutual loyalty along the way to make the story credible. Even worse, the picture manages to eventually actually wear out its welcome, and becomes tiresome. The clock ticks about twenty minutes past what seems like a logical and satisfying dramatic conclusion, and into what feels almost like a different movie entirely. And just when the new plot gets itself rolling, the picture seems so anxious to put a period at the end of its sentence that it leaves its heroes' situations largely unresolved, a mistake the filmmakers attempt to remedy with the inclusion during the final credits of a long, pointless, and resoundingly unfunny outtake. In the process, the violence is literally numbingthe body count is enormous, and enough vehicles to fill a cineplex parking lot are crashed, shot up, launched into the air, blown up, or otherwise destroyed. The stunt budget must've been half the cost of the production. The final effect is of overkill, in every possible sense of the word. Directed by Patrick Hughes and filmed mostly in the actual locations, "The Hit-man's Bodyguard" is recommended only for die-hard fans of either Jackson or Reynolds or both, or for those viewers looking to lose themselves in a European travelogue loaded with gratuitous violence and carnage. Others should proceed with caution. Needless to say, audience members with young children are encouraged to leave the kiddies at home.
The Hitman's Bodyguard
The world's top bodyguard gets a new client, a hit man who must testify at the International Court of Justice. They must put their differences aside and work together to make it to the trial on time.
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