Tagged: David Griffiths

Summary: 
Based on Disneyland’s theme park ride where a small riverboat takes a group of travelers through a jungle filled with dangerous animals and reptiles but with a supernatural element.

Year: 2021

Cinema Release Dates: 29th July 2021 (Australia), 30th July 2021 (UK), 30th July 2021 (USA)

VOD Release Dates: Out now in all regions

Country: USA

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Screenwriter: Glenn Ficarra, Michael Green, John Requa

Cast: Al Saif Alshad (himself), Rapheal Alejandro (Zaqueu), Emily Blunt (Lily Houghton), Dan Dargan Carter (Gonzalo), Veronica Falcon (Trader Sam), Faith Fay (Hotel Guest – Savannah), Paul Giamatti (Nilo),Quim Gutierrez (Melchor), Nicholas Ryan Hernandez (Young Aguirre), Ben Jenkin (Proxima), Dwayne Johnson (Frank Wolff), Simone Lockhart (Anna), Philipp Maximilian (Axel), Andy Nyman (Sir James Hobbs-Coddington), Jesse Plemons (Prince Joachim), Edgar Ramirez (Aguirre), Dani Roviro (Sancho), Tom Vodnik (Tanner), Jack Whitehall (MacGregor Houghton)

Running Time: 127 mins

Classification: M (Australia), .12-A (UK), PG-13 (USA)

OUR JUNGLE CRUISE REVIEWS

David Griffiths’ Jungle Cruise Review:

A film based on a Disneyland ride. Don’t laugh, remember that was the premise behind one of Disney’s highest earning franchises, The Pirates Of The Caribbean, and now Disney is hoping that lightning can strike twice as they are set to release Jungle Cruise a film that once again is based on one of their favourite theme-parks rides.

Directed by Jaume Collett-Sera (Unknown) Jungle Cruise is a mix of epic adventure and super-natural scares as rugged adventurer Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt – Edge Of Tomorrow) goes against the norms of World War II society and sets about solving the mystery behind the Tears Of Heaven legend.

In a bid to solve the mystery that her father failed to achieve Lily sets off to Brazil with her reluctant brother, MacGregor (Jack Whitehall – Mother’s Day), to head up the Amazon and solve the mystery using her father’s map. On arrival in Brazil they quickly find talented river captain and part-time scammer Frank Wolff (Dwayne Johnson – Moana) who is only too eager to take the job of carrying them up river if it means he can escape the clutches of shrewd businessman Nilo (Paul Giamatti – Gunpowder Milkshake) who is coming after the money that he is owed.

However, Lily and MacGregor are not the only ones eager to solve the mystery and hot on their heels is the evil Prince Joachim (Jesse Plemons – The Irishman) who has recruited the undead, led by the warrior Aguirre (Edgar Ramirez – Point Break), to help in his mission to solve the mystery and use the magical tree’s petals to help Germany win the war.

Jungle Cruise is certainly a fun film to watch. It takes the best elements of films like Indiana Jones and Jumanji and mixes it with a definite Pirates Of The Caribbean super-natural vibe. Then to top it off the characters of Lily and Frank are reminiscent of the roles played by Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn in the Oscar winning epic The African Queen from 1951.

While the super-natural scenes created by Collett-Sera and his team of screenwriters are entertaining and suspenseful they do rest heavily on things that we have all seen before in other Disney films. The key though to the film working all comes down the amazing acting performances of its leads.

Dwayne Johnson mixes comedy and action together brilliantly well here like he has done in films like Jumanji while he shares a definite on-screen chemistry with Emily Blunt who re-creates some of the strong performances of some of the Hollywood greats like Hepburn and Fay Wray in a role that she seems like she was born to play. Like Johnson she is only too happy to deliver the odd witty line while also not afraid to put her body online in some pretty amazing stunts.

These two are also well supported by Jack Whitehall who seems to enjoy stealing the odd laugh or two as he portrays the clumsy and terrified side-kick while Jesse Plemons puts his acting skills into over-drive as he gets to play the over-zealous villain. Once again Plemons shows why he is one of the most under-rated actors in Hollywood at the moment.

Watching Jungle Cruise does feel like an adventure for the whole family, although parents should be aware that some of the supernatural themes may scare small children. Still the screen-writing team does more than enough to provide some cheap laughs for younger members, plus a very cute animal side-kick for Dwayne Johnson, while older audience members are going to love the fact that the film is a definite throw-back to some of the best action-adventures that Hollywood had to offer during its Golden Age.

Spectacular special effects and a suspenseful story-line are further enhanced by Blunt and Johnson putting in some of the best performances of their career and together this recipe has created a film that is guaranteed to become yet another family favorite from Disney.Jungle Cruise is now available on Disney+ and will be released in Phuket cinemas at a later date.

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

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You can check out our Phuket News review of Jungle Cruise right here – https://www.thephuketnews.com/jungle-cruise-a-disney-ride-gone-right-80874.php

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Summary: 
A family on a tropical holiday discovers that the secluded beach where they are relaxing for a few hours is somehow causing them to age rapidly reducing their entire lives into a single day.

Year: 2021

Cinema Release Dates: 22nd July 2021 (Australia), 23rd July 2021 (UK), 23rd July 2021 (USA)

VOD Release Dates: TBA

Country: USA

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Screenwriter: M. Night Shyamalan

Cast: Nikki Amuka-Bird (Patricia), Gael Garcia Bernal (Guy), Kathleen Chalfant (Agnes), Embeth Davidtz (Adult Maddox), Francesca Eastwood (Madrid), Emun Elliott (Adult Trent), Mikaya Fisher (Kara Aged 11), Gustaf Hammarsten (Resort Manager), Jeffrey Holsman (Mr. Brody), Daniel Ison (Greg Mitchel), Kailen Jude (Idlib), Vicky Krieps (Prisca), Abbey Lee (Chrystal), Ken Leung (Jarin), Thomasin McKenzie (Maddox Aged 16), Aaron Pierre (Mid-Sized Sedan), Nolan River (Trent Aged 6), Luca Faustino Rodriguez (Trent Aged 11), Eliza Scanlen (Kara Aged 15), Rufus Sewell (Charles),Matthew Shear (Sidney), Alexa Swinton (Maddox Aged 11), Alex Wolff (Trent Aged 15)

Running Time: 108 mins

Classification: M (Australia), .15 (UK), PG-13 (USA)

OUR OLD REVIEWS

David Griffiths’ Old Review:

I want to preface what I am about to say here by saying that I am normally the person in a conversation that will defend M. Night Shyamalan as a film-maker. Aside from The Last Airbender and After Death I have enjoyed all of his films and have even found merit films like Lady In The Water and The Happening that some seem to despise. That being said though I found Old to be his worst film to date – it is a film that has a brilliant premise but sadly is badly executed.

The premise to Old is simple. Guy (Gael Garcia Bernal – Y Tu Mama Tambien) and Prisca (Vicky Krieps – Phantom Thread) are a married couple who decide to take their children on one last holiday before they divorce.

Once arriving on the island paradise it is suggested that visit a beautiful secluded cove and they taken there by the resort staff alongside another married couple, surgeon Charles (Rufus Sewell – A Night’s Tale), his trophy wife Chrystal (Abbey Lee – Mad Max: Fury Road) and their daughter. However the trip to the cove quickly takes a turn for the worst when a body washes up which Charles instantly assumes is the work of the mysterious Mid-Sized Sedan (Aaron Pierre – Krypton) who can’t stop his nose from bleeding.

Without giving anything away the premise of Old and the reveal of why it is happening is pretty amazing, and to be honest Old could have turned out to be an absolute masterpiece but for many reasons this film ends up becoming seriously flawed. From unnatural, over-written dialogue through to some really bad acting performances from some of the cast make the film feel like something has gone horribly wrong with the film-making process somewhere along the way.

Then there is the fact that even though characters are aging at an alarming rate nobodies hair, beards, body hair or fingernails ever seem to become out of control despite the fact that it is unlikely that anybody would have packed grooming products to go on what was just supposed to be a picnic. Like time travel often does in movies the premise of what is supposed to be happening here trips itself up on a number of levels throughout the film.

It also feels like the events that are happening in the film all happen too quickly. A film like this does need to have a body count but not people dropping like flies – not unless the director is better at portraying the panic that that would put the other characters in than what Shyamalan is here. Perhaps the best way to have handled the subject would have been in a real-time drama series, like 24, where one hour of television could have shown what happened to that character in that hour (ie eight years) of their life.

The worst possible crime here for me though is the badly written dialogue. While it is to understand that Trent’s dialogue is different due to the fact that his character is autistic it doesn’t makes sense to why the dialogue of characters like Prisca also speak in such a disjointed and over-explanatory way. Add that to the fact that some of the acting here, and I am not talking about the young cast members, makes The Young And The Restless seem Oscar-worthy and the result is you have a lot of characters that become hard for the audience to warm to.

The saddest part of this film is that it finally grabs the attention of the audience towards the finale. Once the big reveal happens the film becomes interesting but sadly that is all too little too late and I dare say that if the screening that I was in is anything to go by some people may have already left the cinema.

I get a strong feeling that in years to come Old will be shown at film schools as a good example of ‘great idea but poor execution.’ While the idea of the film is a stroke of genius the many flaws of the film means it is not a film that is a pleasure to watch. That seems even more of a crime when you know that when he is at the top of his game M. Night Shyamalan is one of Hollywood’s best filmmakers.

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

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Summary: 
A corrupt Sheriff’s department in a rural mountain town comes undone when an unintended witness throws a wrench into their shady operation.

Year: 2021

Cinema Release Dates: 16th July 2021 (USA)

VOD Release Dates: 2nd August 2021 (UK)

Country: USA

Director: Mike Burns

Screenwriter: Bill Lawrence

Cast: Mike Burns (Officer Frank), Kendall Dombek (Claire), Kelly Greyson (Pam), Lala Kent (Billie Jean), Jaime King (Shannon), Keagan Lasater (Pete), Megan Leonard (Joanna Kern), Tyler Jon Olson (Tom), Michael Sirow (Hank Rivers), Bruce Willis (Jack Harris)

Running Time: 95 mins

Classification: MA15+ (Australia), .R (USA)

OUR OUT OF DEATH REVIEWS

David Griffiths’ Out Of Death Review:

Sometimes it is the most simplest of plots that seem to work the best. That is certainly the case for Mike Burns (Peace, Love & Beats) fictional feature debut Out Of Death that takes the western cop feel of a show like Justified and brings it to movie format.

The plot itself is pretty basic. Photographer Shannon (Jaime King – Sin City) heads to the hills to scatter her father’s ashes, but as she does so she witnesses corrupt Police Officer Billie (Lala Kent – Hard Kill) execute a man when a drug deal goes wrong.

Knowing that her actions have been witnessed Billie calls in back-up from her colleague (who burns a flame for her) Tom (Tyler Jon Olson – Force Of Nature) and her criminal master-mind and local Sheriff Hank Rivers (Michael Sirow – The Good Guy). Hank is furious at what has happened and orders Billie and Tom to ‘put down’ Shannon as quickly as they can.

Unbeknownst to them though also in the area is retired Police Officer Jack Harris (Bruce Willis – Die Hard) who has come to the hills to visit his niece Pam (Kelly Greyson – Little Boy) after the death of his wife. The result is a cat and mouse game with Billie and Tom doing all they can to kill Shannon while Jack works hard to protect her.

Out Of Death is certainly not going to win any Oscars but it certainly isn’t the worse film that you are going to watch this year either. First-time Screenwriter Bill Lawrence shows that he has some great writing talents by doing something that films like these rarely do – and that is give most of his bad guys (and gals) characterisation. Both Billie and Tom are made interesting with some pretty basic tricks – making Billie a single Mum acts as giving her at least one redeemable quality while making Tom a hard-edged character but with a flame for Billie also adds to his character. It’s a pity the same element couldn’t have also been used with Hank but he admittedly does become a token bad guy and at times you almost wonder whether or not he is needed or not.

The action sequences are largely kept pretty basic not only because of budget restraints but also because Covid restrictions restricted how many people could be on set in one day. But that back-to-basics feel actually doesn’t work against the film – instead it makes the film feel more natural which in turn at times adds to the suspense of the film.

Those Covid restriction also meant that the film’s star, Bruce Willis, could only be on set for one day, which again doesn’t show in the film. Willis does what he has to do – points his gun at a few people, snarls during face offs and throws a few punches. He is certainly not disappointing in any way.

Having said that though in a strange move from the norm it is Lala Kent and Tyler Jon Olson that carry this movie most of the time. It is a strange thing to say but they do such a great job that there are times as an audience where you find yourself wanting the point-of-view to switch back to the two villains to see what they are doing. The banter between them, especially when they discuss their life choices, is one of the highlights of the film and the two actors seem to relish the roles that they are given. In a lot of ways Kent and Olson are the reason that Out Of Death is a more pleasurable viewing experience than a lot of people would expect it to be.

Like I said Out Of Death is certainly not going to be an award-winner but at the same time you aren’t exactly going to be wasting your time by watching it either. Bruce Willis is serviceable in the film while Bill Lawrence decision to give Lala Kent and Tyler Jon Olson some interesting characters to work with makes this film a good way to waste an afternoon or evening.

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

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Summary: 
A reclusive man conducts a series of interviews with human souls for a chance to be born.

Year: 2020

Cinema Release Dates: 15th July 2021 (Australia), 30th July 2021 (USA)

VOD Release Dates: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Edson Oda

Screenwriter: Edson Oda

Cast: Zazie Beetz (Emma), Alvaro Cortez (Fernando), Eliza de Azevedo Brown (Amanda (8 Years Old)), Winston Duke (Will), Sammie Edgington (Young Amanda), Sterlin English (Rick (14 Years Old)), Tony Hale (Alexander), Geraldine Hughes (Colleen), Arianna Ortiz (Maria), David Rysdahl (Mike), Bill Skarsgard (Kane), Perry Smith (Anne), Lisa Starrett (Amanda), Erika Vasquez (Luiza), Benedict Wong (Kyo)

Running Time: 124 mins

Classification: M (Australia), .R (USA)

OUR NINE DAYS REVIEWS

David Griffiths’ Nine Days Review:

Nine Days is not an easy film to watch. I also get the feeling it is a film that is going to divide audiences, I could tell that from the Media Screening that I attended where half the people were sitting in bewildered silence during the end credits while the other half were already singing the film’s praises.

I’ll be first to admit that Nine Days is a slow-burn but once you connect with the film you will find that it takes on all the aspects of a well-written thriller.

Directed by first time feature filmmaker Edson Oda Nine Days tells the intriguing story of Will (Winston Duke – Black Panther) whose rule it is to decide which unborn souls are right to be sent out into the human world.

Will spends his days watching the POV cameras that show him how the souls that he has previously chosen are living their lives while occasionally talking to his friend Kyo (Benedict Wong – Doctor Strange) who always seems to be worried that Will is over-working and not enjoying life.

Things take a tragic turn though when one of the souls that Will watches over dies in an accident that may or may not be suicide. As that sinks in followed by the fact that he is watching another struggle under the weight of constant bullying Will realises that perhaps the souls that he is sending out into the world are not cut out for it. Despite Kyo warning him not to Will decides to be tougher on the next candidates despite knowing that any soul not selected will be wiped into oblivion.

To make matters worse one of the souls that Will is interviewing this time around is like no other. The free-spirited Emma (Zazie Betz – Joker) instantly bonds with both Will and Kyo but while Kyo feels that she is the perfect candidate Will disagrees and feels other candidates are better options.

I found that once I got my head around this world that Edson Oda has created the tension in the film rose completely. Early on I found my head filled with questions like ‘why is this guy watching all of these screens’, ‘how does this world work exactly’ but once I let that settle I was able to finally concentrate on what was important – and that was really a soul (ie a person) basically begging to be allowed the opportunity to live.

Once I was able to focus on that I was then able to let the suspense wash over me. This maybe a slow burn that takes a while to play out but it also packs the emotional tension of a well-crafted thriller. The two pronged suspension comes from not only seeing which soul Will will ultimately chose but also what will happen to the bullied soul that is cracking under the pressure.

There are moments of true beauty with Nine Days – some of the scenes that depict Emma learning by life while being encouraged by Kyo are enough to bring a tear to your eyes – so are the moments where Will tries all he can to make the discarded souls last few moments something special and calming.

Aside from the amazing visuals created by Oda and his cinematographer Wyatt Garfield (Beatriz At Dinner) the other powerful force with this film are the amazing acting performances of Winston Duke, Zazie Betz and Benedict Wong. The trio all deliver powerful performances and the scenes that they share together are truly striking.

Nine Days is a stunning visual film with a deep conscience. This film will make you cry, it will make you a laugh but above all it will make you think about just how precious life really is.

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

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Summary: 
Two school friends decide to start a pretend straight relationship in an effort to fit in.

Year: 2020

Cinema Release Dates: 15th July 2021 (Australia)

VOD Release Dates: 4th June 2020 (UK), 10th November 2020 (USA)

Country: Ireland, USA, UK, Belgium

Director: David Freyne

Screenwriter: David Freyne

Cast: Andrew Bennett (Captain Rory), Anastasia Blake (Janet), Peter Campion (Sweeney), Lauryn Canny (Sarah), Adam Carolan (Geoff), Shaun Dunne (Cian), Sharon Horgan (Hannah), Simone Kirby (Jill), Arian Nik (Adam), Evan O’Connor (Jack), Ian O’Reilly (Kev), Fionn O’Shea (Eddie), Lola Petticrew (Amber), Barry Ward (Ian), Emma Willis (Tracey), Jonny Woo (himself)

Running Time: 92 mins

Classification: MA15+ (Australia), 15 (UK), Not Rated (USA)

OUR DATING AMBER REVIEWS

David Griffiths’ Dating Amber Review:

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

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Summary: 
The bodyguard Michael Bryce continues his friendship with assassin Darius Kincaid as they try to save Darius’ wife Sonia.

Year: 2021

Cinema Release Dates: 10th June 2021 (Australia), 14th June 2021 (UK), 5th August 2021 (Thailand), 16th June 2021 (USA)

VOD Release Dates: Out in all regions.

Country: USA, UK

Director: Patrick Hughes

Screenwriter: Brandon Murphy, Phillip Murphy

Cast: Michael Aston (Giuseppe), Barry Atsma (Moreno), Ivor Bagaric (Young Bryce), Antonio Banderas (Aristotle Papdopolous), Bekka Bowling (Stewardess Clare), Brian Caspe (Wlter Fiscer), Anna-Maria Everett (Elena), Morgan Freeman (Senior), Caroline Goodall (Crowley), Michael Gor (Livtin), Richard E. Grant (Seifert), Frank Grillo (Bobby O’Neil), Salma Hayek (Sonia Kincaid), Tom Hopper (Magnusson), Samuel L. Jackson (Darius Kincaid), Jonny James (Johan), Tine Joustra (Renata Casoria), Kristofer Kamiyasu (Zento), Alice McMillan (Aislo), Dragan Micanovic (Vladimir), Gary Oldman (Vladislav Dukhovic), Ryan Reynolds (Michael Bryce), Blake Ritson (Gunther), Tsuwayuki Saotome (Kurosawa), Venice Smith (Gary), Gabriella Wright (Veronika), Milos Yerolemou (Carlo)

Running Time: 100 mins

Classification: MA15+ (Australia), 15 (UK), R (USA)

OUR THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD REVIEWS

David Griffiths’ The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard Review:

I’ve noticed over the years that often one of the reasons why sequels fail is because the filmmakers behind them try to make them too different to the original. There is often a hint of ‘well the hero learnt his lesson so he is different’ or ‘we wanted to go bigger and bolder than the first film.’ The end result is often a film that the fans of the original film end up giving a thumbs down.

Luckily Australian filmmaker Patrick Hughes (Red Hill) did not have any of those notions in his head when he approached The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard. I said in my review for the original film – 2017 The Hitman’s Bodyguard – that it was a big dumb yet fun action film and that is exactly the same way that the sequel should be described.

Set a couple of years after the events of the first film legend-in-his-own-lunchbox bodyguard Michael  Bryce (Ryan Reynolds – Deadpool) finds himself de-registered as a bodyguard, something that he is having a difficult time trying to accept.

Just as a therapist talks him into taking a holiday Bryce suddenly finds himself in the middle of a blood-bath caused by the demanding and possibly psychopathic Sonia Kincaid (Salma Hayek – Dogma) who orders him to come with her and rescue her husband, notorious hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson – Pulp Fiction).

As that rescue takes place though the trio soon find themselves being roped into an Interpol investigation being headed up by Bobby O’Neil (Frank Grillo – The Grey) who believes that Aristotle Papadopolous (Antonio Banderas – The Mask Of Zorro) is about to conduct a huge terrorist attack that could potentially affect the whole of Europe.

I’ll be honest this certainly isn’t a classic nor is it a film I’ll probably ever watch again but did I have fun while I was watching it – yes!!! Screenwriter Tom O’Connor (The Courier) brings the same recipe to the table that made the first film so enjoyable. As I watched this film I found myself laughing one second and then gasping the next as O’Connor again finds the right mixture of comedy and action an brings it all the table.

His screenplay does provide good laughs for Hayek and Jackson but as I was watching the film I found myself beginning to wonder whether Ryan Reynolds will ever get the opportunity to play a character that isn’t ‘cocky’ anymore. With the trailer for Free Guy seemingly showing him play another character in this realm it really is starting to feel like he has been reduced to a one trick pony – a shame when you know that he is capable of so much more.

I would also be lying if I said there isn’t another major flaw with The Hitman’s Bodyguard’s Wife. It almost seems as if having both the characters of Aristotle Papadopolous and Vladislav Dukhovic (Gary Oldman – The Dark Knight) a bit redundant. Both characters seem pretty similar and while it is fun to watch two legendary actors having fun with their characters it does seem at times throughout the film like we are being inundated with characters that only have limited screen time, so surely melding the two in together would have been a great option.

For the most part though The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is a fun film to watch. It’s wise cracks actually did make me laugh – which rarely happens in action comedies – and the action sequences were just enough to keep an action junkie happy. Unlike many action-comedies the action here is pretty full-on with head shots galore but what else would you expect from a director that gave us the very under-rated Red Hill. If you were a fan of the first film then chances are you are going to like this one as well. The same wit and action is there to please and this time around Salma Hayek steals the show.

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

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Summary:  The world’s top bodyguard gets a new client, a hitman who must testify at the International Criminal Court. They must put their differences aside and work together to make it to the trial on time.

Year: 2017

Cinema Release Dates: 31st August 2017 (Australia), 17th August 2017 (UK), 18th August 2017 (USA)

VOD Release Dates: Out in all regions.

Country: USA, Hong Kong, Bulgaria, Netherlands, Canada, UK, France

Director: Patrick Hughes

Screenwriter: Tom O”Connor

Cast: Barry Atsma (Moreno), Dijain Campbell (Young Kincaid), Joaquim de Almeida (Jean Foucher), Michael Gor (Livitin), Richard E. Grant (Seifert), Rod Hallett (Professor Asimov), Salma Hayek (Sonia Kincaid), Sam Hazeldine (Garrett), Samuel L. Jackson (Darius Kincaid), Tine Joustra (Renata Casoria), Yuri Kolokolnikov (Ivan), Nadia Konakchieva (Mrs. Asimov), Marko Mandic (Goran), Mounir Margoum (Zidane), Kirsty Mitchell (Harr), Gary Oldman (Vladislav Dukhovich), Ori Pfeffer (Vacklin), Zlatka Raikova (Widow), Ryan Reynolds (Michael Bryce), Tsuwayuki Saotome (Kurosawa), Valentin Stojanov (Petr Asimov Jnr.), Vladimir Vladimirov (Fabio), Elodie Yung (Amelia Roussel)

Running Time: 118 mins

Classification: MA15+ (Australia), 15 (Thailand), 15 (UK), R (USA)

OUR THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD REVIEWS

David Griffiths’ The Hitman’s Bodyguard Review:

Back in 2010 an Australian film was released that deserved a lot more credit than it ever received. The film was called Red hill – an amazing action meet western film that showed all cult cinema fans that Aussie director Patrick Hughes was a director to watch. The next step in his was to direct the star-loaded The Expendables 3, which sadly took a hit at the box office because of the film being heavily pirated before its release. Now Hughes is back with The Hitman’s Bodyguard – an amazingly good action film that also has moments of comedy that truly work.

The film centres around Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds – Deadpool, Green Lantern) who once had a AAA rating as a bodyguard. He relished on that fact until the day it all went wrong. One of his charges, a criminal, was shot and killed – something that Bryce has always blamed on his then girlfriend, who he has never stopped loving, Interpol Agent Ameilia Roussel (Elodie Yung – The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Gods Of Egypt).

After years of depression and looking after seedier clients Bryce suddenly finds Amelia calling him and asking for help with a huge case. Notorious hit-man Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson – Pulp Fiction, The Hateful Eight) has turned crown witness in a trial for war criminal Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman – The Dark Knight, Batman Begins) in return for the freedom of his wife Sonia Kincaid (Salma Hayek – Desperado, Puss In Boots). The problem is though Interpol realise that they are way out of their depth trying to keep Kincaid alive before the trial and Bryce is the only man who do it, but Bryce and Kincaid have a history of their own as Kincaid has tried to kill Bryce many times before.

We’ve seen a lot of action films try to mix comedy in over the years, and a lot of failed miserably. Luckily Hughes and his screenwriter, Tom O’Connor (Fire With Fire) seem to have learned a lesson from films like Bad Boysand Lethal Weapon from through the years, as they get the mix of action and comedy one-hundred per cent spot on. In a way they know that you carefully have to keep things separate, so one moment you get a brilliant car and boat chase through Venice and then the next minute you get a comical scene involving Sonia in her prison cell… and it works. Without giving anything away plot wise there is also a brilliant comedic surprise as one character is suddenly flung through a car window as well… perfect comedic timing.

The big thing that comes through with this film though is that Hughes is one of the most exciting action directors in the world at the moment. The previously mentioned car and boat chase, to the strains of Australia’s own Spiderbait, is right up there with anything that you would see in The Fast & Furious franchise. Then these is the great hand-to-hand combat scenes, like the ones in the kitchen or in the hardware shot, that are equal to the fights that we have seen in the John Wick franchise. These scenes are going to impress even the most hardcore action fans out there.

Of course the key to making a film like The Hitman’s Bodyguard work is the chemistry between the two central characters. Here Jackson and Reynolds are amazing together. Reynolds has cut his mustard in some good action films over the years, Deadpool and Safe House being among his best, and throughout his career he has shown that he can handle the odd comedic moment as well. He’s perfect to play Bryce and his performance here is enough to let us forgive him for making R.I.P.D. Likewise Jackson is perfect for Kincaid, he’s believable as the ‘cool’ hitman and he doesn’t let age slow him down through any of the stunts either.

Casting Gary Oldman to play a Russian war criminal was a brave casting choice. It could have been a choice that blew up in the casting agent’s face badly and had people saying ‘remember when Gary Oldman tried to play a Russian,’ but he is a good enough actor to pull it off without the character ever feeling clichéd. Salma Hayek also delivers her comedic lines to a tee playing the foul-mouthed Sonia while Elodie Yung is sensational as the romantic interest for Bryce.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard is perhaps the most well-rounded action film that we have seen so far in 2017. Interesting and believable characters mean the audience cares for them from the get-go and then when that is mixed with some sensational action sequences from Hughes you end up with an action film that is going to be talked about for years to come.

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

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