The face of redemption?

The face of redemption?

Review: The Hitman’s Bodyguard

(MA15+) Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Elodie Yung, Salma Hayek

The Hitman’s Bodyguard hits the mark for the university fraternity house crowd with the language and violent content. Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson deliver on their on-screen chemistry, but this exhausting and prolonged excursion will test the limits of their fanbase.

The film opens with, Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds), who has known the exceptional highs and lows of the field of executive protection. He was the owner of a triple A rated agency until one incident damaged his reputation. He’s then regulated to a less than savoury clientele until his ex-girlfirend contacts him for help. Amelia (Élodie Yung) is an Interpol agent who has the responsibility of transporting a valuable and high risk witness to the international trial of the tyrannical dictator of Belarus, Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman). When she loses the support network from the agency, she has no choice but to contact Michael for help in delivering the world renowned hitman, Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson), to testify against Dukhovich. Her plan is hindered after the fallout with her ex-boyfriend and the fact that Michael and Darius have a professional history of trying to kill eachother. They must all work through their differences while they attempt to stay ahead of the dictator’s hit squad who are trying to keep Kincaid from the trial.

Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson have built acting careers on their mastery of a turn of phrase. This unique skill has brought about iconic characters like Deadpool and Nick Fury, as well as some historic monologues. To let these two loose with a script, putting them into the ultra-violent setting of assassins and a body count that would make Quentin Tarrantino envious, has the potential for cinematic gold.

The key challenge with this formula is that these strong actors still need direction and the man in the director’s chair needs to set the bar for some restraint. Australian director Patrick Hughes (The Expendables 3) capitalises on his lead actors skills and comedic chemistry, but he fails to edit down the action that drives the storyline along. The heavy reliance on the impromptu dialogue must have caused such a distraction on set that Hughes forgot to go to the editing room. The action and stunts are good, but the expectation for the audience to come along for the ride for two hours quickly turns from a fun joyride into an arduous road trip. The jokes become laboured and the fact that the trained military forces are unable to apprehend this illusive pair stretches all manner of believability. A ruthless session in the editing room could have saved this film from mediocrity and predictability, as well as the bruising experience for the audience.

Looking Deeper

Redemption: an act of redeeming or atoning for a fault or mistake, or the state of being redeemed. Deliverance from sin; salvation.

The idea of redemption is a driving force in The Hitman’s Bodyguard. It becomes apparent that a motivation for Michael Bryce and Darius Kincaid is to find atonement for their lifestyle choices. One desires to redeem his relationship with his love and another looks to deliver others from their past sins.

These are some of life’s basic needs. Acceptance, forgiveness and redemption. Travelling through life, most of us come to a point of seeking redemption for various things that we have done. Trying to find a means of rectifying the wrongs, we have done to people, society or God. This is a concept that can be found at the heart of the Bible’s message. Jesus’ life and death provides a special type of redemption that is readily available to anyone who is willing to accept it.

This brings about two questions: 

Are you seeking redemption in your life? Have you considered Jesus as the answer?

Verses on the topic of redemption: 
Psalm 111:9, John 3:16, Romans 3:24-26, Ephesians 1:7 


Russell Matthews works for City Bible Forum Sydney and is a film blogger 


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