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Hitman’s Bodyguard heavy on action, short on substance

Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds star in The Hitman’s Bodyguard.

Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds star in The Hitman’s Bodyguard.

Originally Published: August 21, 2017 1:42 p.m.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard is a very noisy, international killing adventure with guns of all sorts being fired almost continuously. And between gun battles, there are killings by lots of other means — knife, club, martial arts, etc.

The dialog is familiar, with the intent to provide some humor as the two main characters are opposed to each other, fight each other, all in a common cause. They end up as buddies. It is an old story, oft told, and oft filmed. Two outstanding examples are The Nice Guys in 2016 and Midnight Run in 1988

Ryan Reynolds is Michael Bryce. He is a top-rated bodyguard, who had a career with the CIA, but was demoted because of one failure to protect a diplomat. The person behind his demotion is Amelia Roussel (Elodie Yung). She is a CIA agent and they were lovers before her negative action against Michael caused their estrangement.

Samuel L. Jackson is Darius Kincaid, an international assassin. Kincaid and Bryce have crossed paths several times and are sworn enemies. Kincaid’s wife, Sonia (Salma Hayek), is in prison refusing to tell the police where they can get to her husband.

Gary Oldman is Vladislav Dukhovich, a ruthless, murderous dictator of a European country. He is being tried by an International Court of Justice for his murderous practices. Kincaid has the essential evidence against him.

So, Dukhovich is after Kincaid to prevent him from testifying. Dukhovich has unleashed a small army of thugs to find and kill him. The Politburo is after Kincaid for killings he has committed. Bryce is assigned to protect Kincaid and get him to the court on time.

Bryce and Kincaid come face to face and start by trying to kill each other.

In consideration of their common goal, they effect a truce. Their personalities are so different that they never stop arguing, often with the free-wheeling Kincaid scolding or mocking Bryce’s tight-assed attitude.

We can smile or chuckle at some of these exchanges, but the overwhelming aspect of The Hitman’s Bodyguard is the nonstop gun battles. And as we see in many other films, a dozen or more automatic rifles cannot hit the heroes, but the heroes cannot miss the bad guys.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard takes place in various cities in Europe, with some nice cinematography, but it does not seem worth the two hours of dozens of dead bodies all over the place.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard is at Harkins Sedona 6 Theater.