‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’ With Ryan Reynolds And Samuel L. Jackson: It’s Not ‘Good,’ Just Fun [Opinion]

The Hitman’s Bodyguard with Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds has everything real people want in a summer film. It’s violent, it’s irreverent, it’s hilariously funny, and there are many explosions. Yes, it’s great, and it’s currently the top grossing film at the box office, raking in over $10 million so far. Still, 60 percent of critics on Rotten Tomatoes, say it isn’t good.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard is fun, thanks to Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds’ playful banter, coupled with nonstop action. For many critics though, just being fun and action packed isn’t enough.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard is a prime example of how sometimes a movie doesn’t have to be heartbreaking. It doesn’t have to be complicated or artistic. Who wants to see that sort of thing on a perfectly pleasant Friday night anyway? People go to the movies to have fun, especially in the summer.

Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds show the crowd a good time in The Hitman’s Bodyguard. The Seattle Times’ critic Soren Anderson explained it well when describing Samuel L. Jackson’s performance.

“[Samuel L. Jackson is] playing perhaps the most Samuel L. Jackson character ever: intense, sardonic and effusively foul mouthed. His signature 12-letter cuss word falls from his lips with such frequency that [Ryan] Reynolds’ character gets in a sly meta-dig, observing, ‘this guy single-handedly ruined the word.'”

The Hitman’s Bodyguard follows the standard pattern of an action movie, but with a lot more humor than most. Those who enjoy Samuel L. Jackson’s usual style will love this movie.

Ryan Reynolds is the perfect straight man to Samuel L. Jackson’s trademark humor. To top it off, in addition, to non-stop shootings, fantastic car chases, and everything exploding, The Hitman’s Bodyguard introduces a whole busload of nuns all primly dressed in classic habits. Yes, The Hitman’s Bodyguard has nun humor.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard does have a good plot. Screenwriter Tom O’Connor did a nice job of creating a few twists. The Hitman’s Bodyguard is just complex enough to hold the viewer’s interest, without getting in the way of the action or the nonstop running jokes.

In The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Samuel L. Jackson portrays Darius Kincaid, a hired hitman turned witness against a Belarusian dictator in a war crimes case. Ryan Reynolds’ character Michael Bryce is the bodyguard tasked with protecting Kincaid and delivering him to the International Court of Justice.

Samuel L. Jackson in The Hitman's Bodyguard

Somehow, though, The Hitman’s Bodyguard becomes a sort of road trip buddy comedy for Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds. Interestingly, this road trip is full of international intrigue and fast paced action. Despite the critics’ disapproval, the idea for an action and road trip combo featuring a hitman and a bodyguard is pretty creative.

As a comedian, Samuel L. Jackson is a pro, doing what he does best, and Ryan Reynolds is obviously having a great time helping him do that. Jackson and Reynolds make a great team.

Patrick Hughes, who directed The Hitman’s Bodyguard, unleashes massive amounts of explosives, gunfire, and amazing violence. Samuel L. Jackson makes a lot of really funny jokes, some at Ryan Reynolds’ character’s expense. That’s the main point of The Hitman’s Bodyguard in a nutshell.

Ryan Reynolds stars in the Hitman's Bodyguard

The Hitman’s Bodyguard might not be for everyone. For those who have no appreciation of humor or the high art of destruction by dynamite, it might be alarming.

Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds failed to amuse Kate Taylor of the Globe and Mail. Taylor said the combination of political realism, comedy, and singing nuns was disturbing. She also complains the country the evil dictator is from is the wrong one in real life.

Taylor’s review states the obvious. The Hitman’s Bodyguard is funny, but it does not make sense politically, nor is it a lesson in ethics. It’s a Samuel L. Jackson movie with Ryan Reynolds, not a documentary. It’s not intended to be educational.

Some critics were offended by the nun humor and Samuel L. Jackson’s potty mouth. Others were bothered by the violence, but 73 percent of the 17,842 Rotten Tomatoes audience liked it, compared to only 40 percent of critics.


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The Hitman’s Bodyguard showcases Samuel L. Jackson’s humor, with Ryan Reynolds backing him up, but there is no agenda.

[Featured Image by Eric Charbonneau and Victoria Will/Invision/AP Images]