It begins by introducing UK-based security expert Michael Bryce (Reynolds), who prides himself on a triple-A rating and the fact that none of the rich types who employ his services have died under his protection. But his luxurious life and untarnished reputation comes to a grinding halt when a Japanese arms dealer receives a bullet through the brain. A couple of years later, Bryce has been demoted to protecting scumbags like the cocaine-snorting businessman Mr. Seifert (Richard E. Grant). He sees an opportunity to redeem himself when Interpol agent and ex-girlfriend Amelia Roussel (Elodie Yung) tasks him with transporting notorious hitman Darius Kincaid (Jackson) from Manchester to Amsterdam so he can testify in court. Only the man he is testifying against, Belarusian dictator Vladislav Dukhovich (a sleepwalking Gary Oldman), uses all of his power to disrupt their passage.
The two lead stars, regardless of how much fun it's looks like they're having, fail to inject much life into The Hitman's Bodyguard. Reynolds does his deadpan motormouth thing (Bryce is basically Deadpool without the costume or ability to regenerate limbs) and Jackson gets to scream "motherfucker!" a hell of a lot, but this simply isn't enough to justify the lack of any real jokes. There's the odd well-earned snigger, but you have to get through a lot of shouting to reach them, with Salma Hayek receiving the most thankless task as Kilcaid's sweary incarcerated wife. The action also fails to deliver. Although a boat chase through Amsterdam's canals is just preposterous enough to fleetingly entertain, the fights lack physicality and the gun-play is deprived of invention, with little real threat from the endless waves of Dukhovich's leather jacket-wearing goons. When a film feels the need to insert a fart joke, you know you're in trouble.
Directed by: Patrick Hughes
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, Elodie Yung, Salma Hayek, Joaquim de Almeida, Richard E. Grant
Country: USA/Hong Kong/Bulgaria/Netherlands