Action Blu-ray Review

'The Hitman's Bodyguard' 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review: Two lethal weapons are better than one

November 21, 2017Ben MK

Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson are two actors known for their quick-witted retorts and flippant remarks, so it should come as no surprise that when you put the both of them in a movie together, you're gonna get some grade-A banter.

In The Hitman's Bodyguard, Reynolds and Jackson play Michael Bryce and Darius Kincaid, two men working on opposite sides, until they're forced to work together. As a triple-A Executive Protection Agent, Michael is used to protecting the sort of clientele that Darius, a contract killer, is used to eliminating — that is, until he loses his license when one of his customers is assassinated. But when Darius becomes the star witness in the trial of murderous Belarusian President Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman), it's he who finds himself under Michael's protection.

Now Michael has 27 hours to escort Darius from Manchester, England to the International Crime Court in The Hague — a feat that proves easier said than done, given that a dozen Interpol agents already lost their lives trying to do the same. Not only will the unlikely pair have to tolerate each other's insufferable quirks as they embark on a road trip across Europe, stopping in such cities as Amsterdam along the way, but they'll also have to contend with Dukhovich's heavily-armed goons, who will stop at nothing to ensure that the two don't make it there alive.

As you might expect, the premise proves to be little more than a thinly-veiled excuse to have Reynolds and Jackson shout expletives at each other for two hours, while bullets fly, cars crash and explosions go off around them. Still, that's not to say the result is altogether unwelcome, as director Patrick Hughes and screenwriter Tom O'Connor at least know how to milk a good thing when they see one. Suffice to say, Reynolds and Jackson's pairing plays just as well on screen as it does on paper, and the film's otherwise run-of-the-mill action ends up better for it.

With a 2160p transfer and a Dolby Atmos sound mix, The Hitman's Bodyguard makes an impressive showing on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. Picture quality is largely crisp and clear and hues are nicely saturated, thanks to a Dolby Vision and HDR color palette. However, there are some qualities inherent in the source image itself that holds this visual presentation back somewhat, namely the soft focus elements of the cinematography where principal photography has been integrated with visual effects. Otherwise, the film's action-packed sound design picks up the slack with ease, thanks to generous doses of gunfire, explosions, high-speed car, motorcycle and speedboat chases, bare-fisted battles and barroom brawls.

VVS Films' two-disc 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release includes a Blu-ray copy and the following extras:

  • The Hitman's Bodyguard: A Love Story (8:55) - A look at Ryan Reynolds' and Samuel. L. Jackson's characters and their on-screen chemistry.
  • Big Action in a Big World (7:54) - The cast talk about the film's stunts and what director Patrick Hughes brings to the movie, as well as their experiences shooting in London, Bulgaria and Amsterdam.
  • Dangerous Women (8:22) - Elodie Yung and Salma Hayek talk about their characters and how they can hold their own against their male counterparts.
  • The Hitman vs. the Bodyguard (4:23) - A promo piece highlighting the contrasts between Reynolds' and Jackson's characters.
  • Deleted, Extended & Alternate Scenes (11:30) - Ten scenes ("Call for Help," "Get Ivan," "A Leader Leads," "Making Plans," "Getting Out Alive," "Is That Your Car?," "I Live In This Building," "Welcome To Amsterdam," "Breaking Protocol" and "Alternate Ending").
  • Outtakes (5:24) - Goofs and flubs from the set.
  • Director's Commentary - Director Patrick Hughes talks about the cast and their performances, the tone of the movie, the filming locations, etc. and touches on the script rewrites, the inside jokes, the visual effects and more.

The Hitman's Bodyguard is available from VVS Films as of November 21st, 2017. The Blu-ray features English Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital 2.0 Audio Optimized for Late-Night Listening and Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English SDH subtitles. The total runtime is 1 hr. 58 min.

* Reviewer's note: Portions of this Blu-ray review were adapted from my original review of the theatrical release, published on August 16th, 2017.

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