The Hitman's Bodyguard
“The Hitman’s Bodyguard seems to think that by making Hayek homicidal and capable of defending herself, that she’s somehow empowered. She isn’t.”
Title: The Hitman’s Bodyguard
Director: Patrick Hughes 👨🏼🇬🇧
Writer: Tom O'Connor 👨🏼🇺🇸
Reviewed by Li 👩🏻🇺🇸
The Hitman’s Bodyguard is unwatchable for two reasons: its smarmy lead, Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) and the show’s self-congratulatory tone. No matter how much razzle dazzle director Patrick Hughes can slap onto this stinker, the entire film is a pointless exercise in prepubescent writing: dick jokes, ass fixations, and “motherfucker” bombs are dropped like they’re going extinct.
Meanwhile, screenwriter Tom O’Connor says “at heart this is a redemption story for Michael Bryce.” But the thing is, Michael Bryce is a Grade-A asshole, so I could really give a flying fig about his “redemption.”
As film critic Carl Kozlowski puts it, “Bodyguard is annoying nearly from start to finish, completely defying all sense of internal logic...O’Connor also relies on flashbacks to explain nearly every aspect of the movie, patching plot holes on a constant basis that feels insulting to the viewer.”
In other words, don’t waste your time.
Does it pass the Bechdel Test? NOPE
Every scene of this movie oozes male fantasy wish fulfillment. Salma Hayek as Sonia Kincaid is ignominiously paired with Samuel L. Jackson (playing Darius Kincaid), who is nearly two decades her senior and looks at least three.
Sonia is a bombshell, catering to Hayek’s laundry list of stereotypical “sexy Latina” roles, complete with multiple shots of her ass and cleavage across the film. The only other woman of significance is Amelia (Elodie Yung), Michael’s ex-girlfriend. She’s portrayed as a shrew, and when Michael’s phone lights up with her call her contact name is “Pure Evil.”
The filmmakers seem to think that by giving Sonia homicidal strength and the ability to defend herself, that she’s somehow empowered. She isn’t. A women isn’t “empowered” by having to fend off grabby assholes (or a creepy-ass, voyeuristic camera lens). She’s empowered through character development and the existence of other women who can help de-tokenize her existence. Unfortunately, Sonia Kincaid is the only woman of equal standing to Michael and Darius and thus, she is forced to take the brunt of Bodyguard’s obtrusive male gaze.
Samuel L. Jackson is half the duo to Ryan Reynolds in this buddy action flick, and he gets a significant amount of screen time. Hayek, who is Mexican American, also plays a large role. Nonetheless, the supporting cast and international sequences all give an overarching sense that this is a very, very white world. Visible non-white extras like the Japanese businessman in the opening sequence quickly get their brains blown out, while the primary villain Vladislav Dukhovich, played by white actor Gary Oldman, receives a long, drawn out sequence before his much nobler death. That said, I do appreciate that the final standoff takes place between Darius and Vladislav, with Darius as the anti-hero we’re meant to be rooting for.
Deduction for Body Positivity: -0.25
The fat shaming is real. Sonia’s prison inmate is a silent “fat girl” whose only role is to cower in a corner and whimper. Ha ha! So funny!
Mediaversity Grade: B 1.75/5
The tagline of Bodyguard is literally “get triggered,” so I’m hardly going to feel bad about this F grade. Clearly, its what the filmmakers wanted.