Film Review: THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD (USA 2017) ****

 THE HITMAN_S BODYGUARDThe world’s top bodyguard gets a new client, a hit man who must testify at the International Court of Justice. They must put their differences aside and work together to make it to the trial on time.

Director: Patrick Hughes
Writer: Tom O’Connor
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, Elodie Yung

Review by Gilbert Seah
 
Actor Samuel L. Jackson is one bad ass mother f***er. When ever he appears in a film, even when playing the President of the United States, he has never failed to use his favourite catch phrase ‘mother f***er’, which he gets to use multiple times in this movie. Jackson is one of my favourite actors in films currently as he can always be counted on to deliver a solid, spirited performance, no matter what. In THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD, he also gets to utter the film’s best joke: “If life deals you shit, you go out and make kool-aid.” to which Ryan Reynolds remarks: “That is not how the saying goes.” Jackson also gets a lot of laughs doing his HOME ALONE expression. Another good joke (though this one belongs to Reynolds) is the one regarding the pen-knife. But the best thing in the film, is a segment where the two leads discuss the usage of the ‘mother f***er’ phrase. Priceless!

The story involves a bodyguard, Michael Bryce (Reynolds) assigned to keep a previous Hitman, Darius Kincaid (Jackson) alive so that he can be transported to Hague, to testify against a corrupt Russian warlord Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman). The film plays the two against each other. The chemistry works, the laughs come fast and furious and the action segments are expertly executed.

The climax of the film includes a spectacular car chase that appear to take on the recent BABY DRIVER. Jackson takes off in a speedboat on the canals around Amsterdam pursued by the bad guys speeding on the streets around the canals. The sequence is well shot with good continuity that also includes another boat contains merrymakers split right into two. The camp factor is increased several notches with screaming prostitutes running around the streets. There is also n funny window-eye view of the chase as if seen by one of them through the glass.

As if this was not exciting enough, the car/boat chase is intercut with a foot case with Reynolds under pursuit. The two chases are brilliantly brought together with the fire of an exploding vehicle from which the camera pulls back now only to show the fire now from the grill in the kitchen in a restaurant which Reynolds breaks into.

Though the script is occasionally lazily written, with details left out, for example why Jackson landed in a Manchester prison, the jokes and punch lines are perfectly timed.
The camera placement is also excellent throughout the film, often with images to show Jackson’s expressions through the car front window or to see Reynolds somersault through the front windscreen to land standing up in front of the car after.

The main plus of THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD is that the absolute unexpected can and actually always occurs at any time. The two for example, end up at one point, hitching a ride in a van full of nuns with Jackson joining them in a singalong.
The film’s speed and spirit matches its message on life, that things happen but you got to do your ‘thang’. They just do not make enough films like this one.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4Afusxc2SM
 

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Movie Review: GODS OF EGYPT (USA 2016) **

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gods_of_egypt_poster.jpgGODS OF EGYPT (USA 2016) **
Directed by Alex Proyas

Starring: Gerard Butler, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Geoffrey Rush, Brenton Thwaites, Courtney Eaton, Chadwick Boseman, Elodie Yung

Review by Gilbert Seah

The Lionsgate blockbuster GODS OF EGPYT has been plagued by many problems the most notable of it being a totally white cast for its lead characters. But this is the least of the film’s troubles. Made by Lionsgate, the HUNGER GAMES company that desperately needs a big hit after their stock plummeted 30% in one day after the earnings announcement, this $140 million production is only expected to gross, by industry estimates only $15 million on its opening weekend. To Lionsgate credit, it claims that it only footed $10 million of the budget, the rest covered by pre-sales and tax credits. The Australian Government apparently paid half the production costs.

The director Alex Proyas (I, ROBOT, THE CROW) claims that the world of Gods of Egypt never really existed. It is inspired by Egyptian mythology, and therefore it would make no sense to attempt any historical accuracy because that would be pointless — none of the events in the movie ever really happened. So, it does not really matter that the film was never shot in Egypt but down-under.

The story of Gods and man is set in Egypt. At the film’s start, the audience is given the heads-up by voice-over of the film’s setting. Apparently God and man are co-existing side-by-side. The film distinguishes one from the other by the size. Gods are figures that appear much taller (or larger) than humans. The film opens with a common human thief, Bek (Brenton Thwaites) stealing an amulet to offer it as a gift to his everlasting love. They attend the coronation of the crowning of the new King, Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), whose throne is stolen by Uncle Set (Gerard Butler with all the growling he can muster!) After that, it is the quest of reclaiming the throne.

Since when do Gods die or fight for a throne? And where does the idea of so many Gods living together ever come from? The main premise is as ridiculous as it looks and it does look even sillier in a big budgeted film. One best example is the scene of the coronation with the screen filled with thousands of spectators as far the the screen can hold. How then can they hear what is going on on the stage when the microphone was not invented then. The scene reminds one of MONTY PYTHON’S LFE OF BRIAN where the Monty Python group complain about being unable to hear what Jesus was preaching during the sermon on the Mount.

The film running more than 2 hours is CGI gone mad. The special effects, 3D and CGI are costly and look good on the screen. But the script meanders more than the Nile giving the impression that the writers are making things up as they go along. For a multi-million dollar epic, the one-liners could at least being funnier. “Run…”, “Run Faster”… are the best the film has to offer. The climatic fight is good enough, performed at the top of a pyramid, but the entire adventure turns out to be a totally boring affair.

Never has so much money been devoted to the realm of boredom.

 

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