Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Things To Do

Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson can't keep 'The Hitman's Bodyguard' on-target

The Hitman's Bodyguard is an assault tank on semi-automatic pilot, spraying jokes and bullets with only the ammo consistently hitting its targets. The irresistible teaming of Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson might be even funnier if they missed once in a while.

This movie's violence is numbing, each kill shot, power tool mangling, beer bottle stabbing and jumper cable torture session intruding on the rascal stars' charms. Director Patrick Hughes' instinct isn't to find dark humor in violence, only to graphically depict it. There's a sadistic edge to The Hitman's Bodyguard that's unbecoming to its comedy.

Casting is everything in such generic action trappings. Reynolds and Jackson add new fizz to the stale formula of cross-cultured adversaries bonding over bullets. Depending on the scene, The Hitman's Bodyguard plays like an homage to and parody of '80s bromantic mayhem, like 48 Hrs. with a shorter deadline.

That's because high risk bodyguard Michael Bryce (Reynolds) has only 27 hours to deliver master assassin Darius Kincaid (Jackson) to the International Court of Justice. Darius can verify that a Belarus dictator (Gary Oldman) is a war criminal. The dictator wants him dead. Simple enough.

A platoon of Belarusian goons led by Ed Sheeran's evil twin chase Michael and Darius from Interpol headquarters to the Hague, making good use of Amsterdam's scenery. It's a relatively short journey by Mission: Impossible standards, interrupted by various gunfights, beatdowns and too many exploding vehicles to count.

At its best, The Hitman's Bodyguard oozes with personality, not fake blood.

Michael is a character squarely in Reynolds' range, a perfect specimen of cosmopolitan manhood with everything but the girl. He'll need to become a better man for that. Few sex symbols lean so heavily upon insolence as an aphrodisiac or blank expressions while calculating corners he's backed into. The Hitman's Bodyguard is a shallower Deadpool for Reynolds to splash around.

Jackson plays exactly who he usually does on screen, the baddest person in the room if not always the smartest. Certainly the most profane. Despite what Michael says, Darius does not give a certain 12-letter epithet a bad name. The actor playing him makes it punctuation to decreasing comedic effect.

Darius talks sweeter to this movie's wild card, Salma Hayek as his wife, Sonia, whose release from prison is the deal for testifying in court. Hayek has a ball flinging f-bombs and inflicting carnage of her own, a ripened callback to From Dusk Till Dawn. A flashback to the couple's first meeting — love at first slash — is the balance of horror and humor this movie's violence needs.

Contact Steve Persall at [email protected] or (727) 893-8365. Follow @StevePersall.

Comments

Hillsborough Rep. Jack Raburn won’t seek re-election in House District 57

LITHIA — State Rep. Jake Raburn hasn't had a challenger since the Republican first won the District 57 seat in 2012.Now he has an opponent: Valrico's Debbie Katt is a software development engineer and political newcomer who has qualif...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
Jobsite’s ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ should be more gripping than it is

Jobsite’s ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ should be more gripping than it is

TAMPA — The virtues of Dancing at Lughnasa, with which Jobsite Theater closes its season, are many. This drama by the celebrated Brian Friel opened in 1990 to much acclaim. It captures a family’s joys and sadnesses, and the quickness with which one s...
Published: 06/19/18
Review: On ‘Everything Is Love,’ Beyonce and Jay-Z emerge from chaos defiant, triumphant

Review: On ‘Everything Is Love,’ Beyonce and Jay-Z emerge from chaos defiant, triumphant

In 2016 Beyoncé dropped Lemonade, a culture-quaking song cycle about her troubled marriage to Jay-Z, and more broadly about the black female experience in America. It was her best and most meaningful work, and it was nominated for Album of the Year a...
Published: 06/19/18
XXXTentacion, controversial Florida rapper and singer, shot dead at 20

XXXTentacion, controversial Florida rapper and singer, shot dead at 20

The last words posted to XXXTentacion's Instagram Stories on Monday afternoon: "planning a charity event for this weekend Florida!"Whatever it was, it would have been huge. The 20-year-old singer-rapper was among the biggest — and most controve...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 19

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 19

James After 5: The museum is open from 5 to 8 p.m. every Tuesday, featuring $5 admission. Tonight, former Tampa Bay Times movie critic Steve Persall will introduce a screening of Stagecoach (1939). 5 p.m., James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art, 15...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Sports on TV/radio for Tuesday, June 19

TODAYBaseballOrioles at Nationals7 p.m.MLBRays at Astros8 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMMarlins at Giants10 p.m.FSFDiamondbacks at Angels10 p.m.ESPNCollege baseball, World SeriesFlorida vs. Texas2 p.m.ESPNTexas Tech vs. Arkansas7 p.m.ESPNGolfPGA Professionals c...
Updated: 8 hours ago
SoundBytes: Mat Kearney, Gladys Knight, Big Boi, Ski Mask the Slump God and more

SoundBytes: Mat Kearney, Gladys Knight, Big Boi, Ski Mask the Slump God and more

— Singer-songwriter Mat Kearney is returning to the Ritz Ybor on Sept. 27, with Atlas Genius opening. Tickets start at $26.50. Click here for details.— Also coming to the Ritz Ybor in September: South Florida rapper (and a new member of X...
Published: 06/18/18
George Lopez, Cedric the Entertainer, more bringing Comedy Get Down tour to Tampa

George Lopez, Cedric the Entertainer, more bringing Comedy Get Down tour to Tampa

Nothing like outdoor comedy on a mid-November night in Florida, right?Okay, so it's not a club or theater or even an arena, and it rarely hosts comedy shows of any kind. Still, the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre will bring a host of fans when t...
Published: 06/18/18
Restaurant review: Chile Verde is serving up very solid tacos in an unlikely spot

Restaurant review: Chile Verde is serving up very solid tacos in an unlikely spot

ST. PETERSBURGThere are a lot of decommissioned gas stations across the country. Some have been reinvented, cleverly made over as upscale restaurants. There’s Big Star in Chicago, Elaia & Olio in St. Louis, Red Truck Bakery in Warrenton, Va., even Bi...
Published: 06/18/18
Daryl Hall and John Oates talk about becoming cool again, their creative partnership and more

Daryl Hall and John Oates talk about becoming cool again, their creative partnership and more

In their prime, Daryl Hall and John Oates were a pop-music punch line, enormous stars on radio and MTV, yet as critically uncool as they come. Maneater, Private Eyes, Kiss On My List and Out of Touch all hit No. 1, but were no one's idea of cutting e...
Published: 06/18/18