• Hitman’s Bodyguard, The



    Released by: Lionsgate Entertainment
    Released on: November 21st, 2017.
    Director: Patrick Hughes
    Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, Salma Hayek, Elodie Yung
    Year: 2017
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    In Patrick Hughes’ 2017 film The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Ryan Reynolds plays Michael Bryce. What does he do? He’s a protection again, and he’s the best there is at what he does – except when he screws up and doesn’t deliver a Japanese client he was supposed to. With his career knocked down a few pegs, at this particular juncture he’s been tasked with protecting an infamous hitman named Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson). More than just a simple gunman, Kincaid is a ruthless assassin. Interpol – more specifically, Bryce’s ex-girlfriend Amelia Roussel (Élodie Yung) - has requested he escort the killer from Manchester to The Hague.

    This seems simple enough, but there’s a catch. Kincaid is the only one who knows enough about a tyrannical Eastern European dictator named Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman) to be able to testify against him in a War Crimes trial. See, Kincaid used to work for Dukhovich and as such, he’s essentially a living target. This makes Bryce’s job a little trickier, but complicating matters further is the presence of Kincaid’s wife, Sonia (Salma Hayek), now free from prison since Kincaid has agreed to testify. With Dukhovich’s men out to remove Kincaid from the equation, Bryce and his human cargo find themselves in a literal race against time to get Kincaid to where he needs to be before they’re both shot dead, blown up or worse.

    While The Hitman’s Bodyguard may owe more than a little to pictures like Midnight Run and 48 Hours, that’s okay. The fact that it’s essentially built around a string of action/buddy movie clichés? That’s also okay. Hughes and company aren’t out to reinvent the wheel here, influences are clearly worn on sleeves, but if entertainment value is what you’re after this picture delivers. It hits the right mix of humor, action and character development to work and if it slows down just a tad here and there, for the most part it is very nicely paced. The action set pieces are well choreographed and sometimes surprisingly violent, and the humor delightfully profane. Subtle this film is not.

    There isn’t a lot of character development here, but there is enough. Reynolds and Jackson have pretty decent chemistry here, and while neither stretches as an actor at all, they both play the standard Reynolds and Jackson types well enough. Salma Hayek is fun as Kincaid’s girlfriend. She’s smart, tough and resourceful, qualities shared by Élodie Yung, who is also quite good here. Throw in some great work from Gary Oldman, and you can see why the cast would be a pretty big draw for mainstream crowds.

    Again, there isn’t much in the way of originality to the picture, but as derivative as the picture is, it does what it does very well.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The AVC encoded 1080p high definition 2.40.1 widescreen transfer on this 50GB Blu-ray disc from Lionsgate is excellent – flawless, really. The picture is as crystal clear as you’d expect a new Hollywood production to be. Detail is impressive and at times remarkably strong while color reproduction is damn near perfect. Black levels are reference quality and we get nice skin tones here too. As the movie was shot digitally there’s obviously no print damage to note, while the disc is free of any compression artifacts, black crush, noise reduction or edge enhancement. Reference quality stuff. Some of the flashbacks are intentionally tinkered with and they look less pristine than the rest of the film, but that’s part of the picture’s aesthetic and not reasonable to complain about.

    Audio options are provided in English language Dolby Atmos and in DTS-HD 7.1, Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo. Optional subtitles are provided in English SDH and Spanish. That Atmos track? Kaboom! Lionsgate has done an excellent job on the technical side of things and that translates to an impressively immersive listening experience. Dialogue is crystal clear; the score sounds fantastic and the effects -particularly the gun shots - hit as hard as you could hope they would. At the same time, balance is perfect and there’s just really impressive clarity throughout. The action scenes feature some relentless surround activity while even the quieter moments in the picture offer some interesting ambient and background activity to listen for.

    Extras start off with a commentary track featuring director Patrick Hughes in which he talks quite candidly about making the film. Lots of fun stories here about working alongside the cast members, his thoughts on some of the film’s more unique set pieces, action oriented or otherwise, what it was like on set, the effects featured in the picture and plenty more. Hughes has a good sense of humor, which makes this track more enjoyable than it would be otherwise.

    Up next is a featurette called The Hitman's Bodyguard: A Love Story. Over the course of its nine-minute running time we hear from all of the main cast members, Hughes and a few others involved in the production. It’s fairly ‘EPK’ in nature as far as the substance of the interviews go, but there’s some fun behind the scenes footage in here. From there, we also get a four-minute piece called Hitman Vs. Bodyguard which is little more than a collection of clips from the movie focusing in on specific characters’ personality traits. Dangerous Women spends eight minutes exploring the two strong female leads in the film and is made up of a few more cast and crew interviews, while Big Action In A Big World gives us eight minutes’ worth of clips, interviews and behind the scenes footage showing off what went into creating the film’s more impressive action set pieces.

    Rounding out the extras on the disc are five minutes of outtakes, five minutes of deleted scenes, three minutes of extended scenes, menus and chapter selection. As this is a combo pack release the Blu-ray keepcase also holds a DVD version of the movie as well as a download code for a Digital HD version of the film. Lionsgate has also included a slipcover to accompany the package.

    The Final Word:

    The Hitman’s Bodyguard is built on a skeleton of predictable action movie/buddy comedy clichés but that doesn’t really make it any less entertaining. Funny – even at times hilarious – and benefitting from some genuinely impressive action set pieces, this is a popcorn movie through and through, and a fine way to kill two hours. Lionsgate’s Blu-ray release isn’t jammed with extras, but it looks and sounds great. Recommended!

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!




















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