Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L Jackson, Gary Oldman, Elodie Yung, Salma Hayek
Directed By: Patrick Hughes
Plot: Michael Bryce (Reynolds) is a AAA rated security agent who is tasked by his ex-girlfriend and Interpol agent (Yung) with protecting and escorting a high profile target, who also happens to be a hitman, (Jackson) to a trial where he can testify against a warlord (Oldman) accused of genocide. Hilarity ensues.
Disclaimer: This is what you would call a “star vehicle”. It’s when Hollywood takes an actor (or two in this case) and plops them into a rather generic movie and lets the actors do their thing because they are the main selling point of the film. So, if you like Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L Jackson, then this might be your film. If you do not like these actors, you will not like this film. It’s like if you don’t like Adam Sandler, but you keep going to see his films, and you keep trashing them… what’s the point? Just stop going. I don’t watch Madea movies for this reason. I don’t like shouting at the wind.
What Works: I do enjoy Reynolds and Jackson and I liked them both here. They’re both doing their typical stuff, with Reynolds being very reminiscent of Deadpool and Jackson doing the same thing he did with Snakes On A Plane (more proof that Jackson can make really any film entertaining). The rest of the cast is good too. Hayek has a few scenes, but is funny in each one. Oldman’s a bit too intense sometimes, and could have used a bit more levity in his performance, but I can’t fault the dude for really being in to his role. He’s one of the best living actors. Elodie Yung is also good in her role. There are also some really solid action set pieces and car chases that keep the film moving and fun. Mostly this is about the jokes that Reynolds and Jackson maintain the whole film, but the action is good too when it comes along.
What Doesn’t Work: The film is definitely too long for its own good, and is one of those films (like the third Lord of the Rings movie) that has a few different points where it could have ended. This film felt long, but not in an English Patient way, but rather just a mystifying “how long can this movie go on for?” which really escalates when you feel like the movie is winding down, but continues to chug forward. There are a few scenes that aren’t shot well, and are kinda poorly lit and hazy for no apparent reason whatsoever. There’s also a “mole” in Interpol, which we discover near the beginning of the film. Rather than let us try and figure out who the mole is, we’re told almost immediately who that character is, which takes a lot of the excitement out of trying to figure out who it is. Of course, the casting department picked someone who typically plays a bad guy for that role, so maybe the director just gave up on it. “He always plays a bad guy, the audience will immediately know who it is.” And if your bar is still set really high for this film, let me remind you that this film is from the director of The Expendables 3. And now your bar is properly lowered.
Final Word: I had fun. I like these actors, and they delivered on the promise of the trailer. There will always be snooty critics who hate films like this, but this is a perfectly fine film. If you watched the trailers and thought “I think I’ll enjoy that”, you probably will. It was almost exactly what I expected it to be, just a little longer than needed.
Final Grade: B