The Hitman's Bodyguard (2017)

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The Hitman's Bodyguard (2017) poster

Date Created: 30/09/2017
Date Modified: 10/10/2017
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Runtime: 118 min -
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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.
The Hitman's Bodyguard is a 2017 American action comedy film directed by Patrick Hughes and written by Tom O'Connor, whose script was on the 2011 Black List. The film stars Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman and Salma Hayek, and follows a bodyguard who is hired to protect a hitman who has to testify at the International Criminal Court.

The Hitman's Bodyguard was released in the United States on August 18, 2017, and has grossed $161.4 million worldwide. The film received mixed reviews, with critics praising Reynolds and Jackson's chemistry but criticizing the clichéd plot and execution.
Plot[edit]

Private European Union based bodyguard Michael Bryce is hired to protect Takashi Kurosawa, a Japanese arms dealer. All apparently goes well, until Kurosawa is shot in the head through the airplane window. Two years later, Bryce has fallen into disgrace and ekes out a living protecting drug-addicted corporate executives in London. Meanwhile, Vladislav Dukhovich, the ruthless and bloodthirsty dictator of Belarus, is put on trial for crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court. The prosecution is unable to make headway against him, as they are unable to substantiate their allegations with physical evidence and Dukhovich assassinates any witnesses who could do so. The prosecution's last hope is notorious incarcerated hitman Darius Kincaid, who agrees to testify against Dukhovich in exchange for releasing his wife Sonia from prison.

Interpol Assistant Director Jean Foucher assigns Amelia Roussel, an inexperienced agent and Bryce's ex-girlfriend, to lead the transportation of Kincaid. A squad of Interpol agents composed of French GIPN and British AFO's from the National Crime Agency begin to escort Kincaid from Manchester to The Hague. However, the convoy is ambushed in Coventry and everyone except Kincaid and Roussel are killed. The two retreat to a safehouse. They realise someone in Interpol must have betrayed them and they need someone from outside they can trust, so Roussel contacts Bryce. Bryce is reluctant to help, as he believes that Roussel was responsible for the death of Kurosawa two years previously, but ultimately agrees to aid them in exchange for the restoration of his reputation. After a brief showdown with Kincaid which reveals that Bryce had multiple conflicts with him in the past, Roussel returns to Interpol to update them on the situation, while Bryce and Kincaid escape an attack by Dukhovich's men.

Foucher approaches Dukhovich, revealing himself to be the traitor, and demands his payment for selling out Kincaid; Dukhovich stabs him in the hand and informs him he will only be paid when Kincaid is dead. Dukhovich's men track Kincaid's location through his cellphone and ambush him and Bryce. While they are able to fight them off, their vehicle is destroyed. The two hitchhike to a ferry terminal and take a ferry to Amsterdam, where Sonia is being held. Kincaid escapes from Bryce to send flowers to Sonia, and Bryce tracks him down and kills several more hitmen. Kincaid reveals that he killed Kurosawa two years ago, having been at the airport only by chance after another job. Enraged at the revelation that he has spent two years blaming Roussel for "betraying" him when in reality the client's death was a sheer fluke, Bryce abandons him.

As Bryce bemoans his failures, a group of hitmen attacks Kincaid. Bryce changes his mind and helps Kincaid escape, but is captured. Dukhovich's men torture him in an attempt to find Kincaid, who tracks Bryce down and rescues him. After settling their differences aside, the two battle their way to The Hague, arriving just in time for Kincaid to testify. He testifies that Dukhovich tried to hire Kincaid to assassinate a political rival, but in the process Kincaid witnessed the execution of a village, uploading photos of the massacre to a secret FTP site that he provides the court with access to. Dukhovich resorts to his backup plan; to bomb the court, allowing him to steal a gun and attempt to kill Kincaid. Bryce jumps in the way of the bullet and orders Kincaid to stop Dukhovich from escaping. Roussel notices Foucher acting suspiciously during the attack, and deduces he was the traitor. She subdues him with Bryce's aid, and the two rekindle their relationship. Kincaid pursues Dukhovich to the roof of the building, where he attempts to escape by helicopter. Kincaid destroys the helicopter and corners Dukhovich. Dukhovich attempts to break Kincaid by claiming he will never be able to redeem himself for his sins, but Kincaid laughs it off, declares that Dukhovich should not have shot Bryce, and kicks Dukhovich off the roof to his death. In the aftermath, Bryce is recovered and has rekindled his relationship with Roussel and Sonia is released. Kincaid is rearrested for his previous crimes, but breaks out of HMP Belmarsh so he and Sonia can celebrate their anniversary in the bar in Honduras where they first met.

Cast[edit]

Ryan Reynolds as Michael Bryce, a triple A rated executive protection agent and former CIA officer.
Samuel L. Jackson as Darius Kincaid/Evans, one of the world’s most notorious hitmen and Sonia’s husband.
Gary Oldman as Vladislav Dukhovich, the dictatorial President of Belarus.
Élodie Yung as Amelia Roussel, an Interpol agent, and Michael's ex-girlfriend.
Salma Hayek as Sonia Kincaid, Darius’s equally notorious wife.
Yuri Kolokolnikov as Ivan, leader of the mercenaries working for Dukhovich.
Tine Joustra as Renata Casoria, Director of Interpol.
Joaquim de Almeida as Jean Foucher, Assistant Director of Interpol.
Kirsty Mitchell as Rebecca Harr, Kincaid's lawyer.
Richard E. Grant as Mr. Seifert, a drug addicted corporate executive and client of Bryce.
Sam Hazeldine as Garrett, a National Crime Agency officer.
Mikhail Gorevoy as Litvin, Dukhovich’s lead defense lawyer.
Barry Atsma as Moreno, the lead prosecution lawyer.
Georgie Glen as ICC Lead Judge
Rod Hallett as Professor Petr Asimov, a critic and victim of the Dukhovich regime.

Production[edit]

In May 2011, David Ellison's Skydance Media acquired the action script The Hitman's Bodyguard written by Tom O'Connor.[6] The script was among the top 2011 Black List of unproduced screenplays.[7] While originally intended as a drama, the script underwent a "frantic" two-week rewrite to be remade into a comedy several weeks prior to filming.[8]

On November 4, 2015, it was announced that Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson and Gary Oldman were cast in the film, which Jeff Wadlow would direct for Millennium Films. Producers would be Mark Gill, John Thompson, Matt O'Toole and Les Weldon.[9] On February 23, 2016, Élodie Yung and Salma Hayek were cast in the film, which Lionsgate would distribute in the United States.[10] On March 9, 2016, it was reported that Wadlow had exited the film and Patrick Hughes signed on to direct the film.[11][12]

Principal photography on the film began on April 2, 2016, in London, Amsterdam and Sofia.[10][11]

Reception[edit]
Box office[edit]

As of September 28, 2017, The Hitman's Bodyguard has grossed $73.9 million in the United States and Canada and $87.5 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $161.4 million, against a production budget of $30 million.[3]

In North America, The Hitman's Bodyguard was released on August 18, 2017 alongside Logan Lucky, and was projected to gross $17–20 million from 3,350 theaters in its opening weekend.[13] The film made $8 million on its first day (including $1.65 million from Thursday night previews).[14] It went on to open to $21.6 million, topping the box office.[15] In its second weekend the film made $10.2 million, finishing first at the box office in what was the combined lowest-grossing weekend since September 2001.[16] The film made another $10.2 million the following weekend, becoming the 3rd film of 2017 to finish atop the box office for three straight weeks. However, while it made an estimated $12.9 million over the four-day Labor Day weekend, was again involved in a historically low weekend, as it was the worst combined holiday weekend since 1998.[17]

Critical response[edit]

Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 38% based on reviews from 163 critics, and an average rating of 5.1/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Hitman's Bodyguard coasts on Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds' banter—but doesn't get enough mileage to power past an overabundance of action-comedy clichés."[18] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a weighted average score 47 out of 100, based on reviews from 42 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[19] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[14]

Peter Debruge of Variety gave the film a positive review and called it a pleasant late-summer surprise, writing: "The Hitman’s Bodyguard is about as close to a live-action cartoon as you’re likely to get this year...That’s not a style that works much of the time...but in the hands of The Expendables 3 helmer Patrick Hughes—and more importantly, owing to the chemistry of stars Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds—it makes for a delightfully ridiculous screwball action comedy."[20] Writing for Rolling Stone, Peter Travers praised the cast, giving it 2 stars out of 4 and saying, "Reynolds and Jackson make this summer lunacy go down easy with their banter and bullet-dodging skills. They're the only reason that The Hitman’s Bodyguard doesn't completely sink into the generic quicksand from whence it came