A dearth of original ideas and comedies that are actually funny are just two of the things that get mentioned around here on a regular basis.
While the economic arguments for sequels can be understood, it can be a tad frustrating.
But the making of a comedy that’s just not funny…?
Thankfully, The Hitman’s Bodyguard tackles one of these issues head one.
And, even better, it’s lack of originality is not an issue.
The story centres around Michael Bryce, a once Triple A-rated (yes, it’s a thing) bodyguard who has fallen on tough times after losing a client.
Into his life comes Darius Kincaid, a hitman who’s supposed to be giving evidence in The Hague in exchange for his beloved being released from prison.
Over the course of two-ish hours, people swear, this blow up, people get killed or maimed or both and a lot of laughs are had.
A LOT of laughs.
And that is what is most surprising about this film.
It’s seriously, seriously funny.
We already know that Samuel L Jackson (Darius) can do comedy, and while Deadpool proved Ryan Reynolds (Bryce) could deliver lines, nothing had prepared us for his ability to actually do proper funny acting.
Because if recent comedy films have highlighted anything, it’s that America has forgotten how to do subtle.
Punchlines telegraphed, gags given a longer build-up than a new season of Game Of Thrones – it’s like they’ve forgotten how to just be funny.
It’s like they forgot they gave us Airplane and Naked Gun.
Well, until now.
Because between writer Tom O’Connor (on only his second film) and director Patrick Hughes (of Expendables 3 fame) the spirit of those two stone cold classics has been invoked with love and reverence.
Gags fly thick and fast, to the point that the drive home is spent trying to remember them all.
There’s often barely time to pause between guffaws.
It’s helped, in part, by the chemistry between Reynolds and Jackson – but also Hughes’ well-balanced direction – the drama of the plot being allowed to come through when needed.
But, beautifully, among all the swearing and shooting and blowing uppery, there’s a little hidden gem.
Actually, there are two.
The first is Salma Hayek, who plays the foulest-mouthed, bullyingist yoga practitioner on the planet.
It’s only a small part, but she plays it perfectly. And it’s hilarious.
Then there are two scenes featuring classic ballads.
On both occasions we were crying with laughter.
Let’s be clear about this – The Hitman’s Bodyguard isn’t high art. It won’t win awards.
But if you want to sit back, relax, have fun and be seriously entertained, then this is the film for you.
You get a hell of a lot of bangs for your buck.