The Hitman’s Bodyguard **
Dir: Patrick Hughes. With: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, Salma Hayek. 118 mins. Cert: 15
This fumbled buddy-movie throwback touts here-for-the-money stars as compensation for leaden pacing and a futzing, bum-obsessed script. Any remaining life in its tired set-up – security operative Ryan Reynolds drags assassin Samuel L. Jackson to The Hague to testify against a Belarussian war criminal (Gary Oldman, inevitably) – soon gets stifled by pointless flashbacks and detours and a suicidally phlegmy palette. It earns the distinction of being the first shoot-‘em-up to reroute its leads via (an unrepresentative recreation of) Coventry city centre, but that’s the problem: only belatedly, with its medium-octane chases around Amsterdam, does this dopey endeavour become the freewheeling romp the trailers promised. For an action-comedy, its timing is lousy.
The Hitman's Bodyguard opens in cinemas nationwide today.