THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD

Samuel L. Jackson. Ryan Reynolds. An enviable budget for making things go boom. Need we say more.

Hollywood’s latest, greatest assault on subtext and subtlety, “Executive Protection Agent” Michael Bryce (Reynolds) is tasked by ex-girlfriend and all-purpose face of Interpol Amelia (the talented Elodie Yung, far better deployed in Netflix’s The Defenders) with escorting supremely chilled hitman Darius Kincaid (Jackson) to testify in The Hague.

With Jackson exceeding even Kong: Skull Island levels of Jackson, delivering his signature, expletive turn of phrase not once, not twice but a total of fifteen times, the A-list cast, among them Salma Hayek and Gary Oldman, evidently having been after a holiday in Europe, are clearly having no end of fun. Joining the highly prolific 68 year-old action juggernaut, Hayek nabs some of the film’s best lines as Kincaid’s imprisoned love-interest, while Reynolds, at home knee-deep in his trademark shtick, may as well have donned the red suit for whole parts of this flick that could fairly have been labelled Deadpool 1.5.

Neglecting any consistency or realism as regards characters’ mortality or ability to bounce-back from what would normally be considered a lethal blow, Bryce careening through a windshield only to hit back with a wisecrack is matched only by the gunshot to Kincaid’s leg being rendered ineffectual when the next scene so requires it.

This matters little in a feature resplendent in its reliance on action sequences, hand-to-hand combat and, because it would otherwise have been wanting, the timely inclusion of a bazooka. Enjoyable and generally well staged barring some tonally questionable additions including an ill-chosen accompanying track for one key confrontation that tumbles from the streets of Amsterdam into a kitchen well-equipped for one of the film’s many colourful sequences, those hoping for some semblance of what might actually happen under any of these circumstances should look elsewhere.

Those hoping for something to tide you over until the next Deadpool flick, or until Jackson manages to again one-up himself, look no further.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard is in cinemas from August 31