10 September 2017

I Felt Two Emotions... Silence And Rage

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Watching The Hitman's Bodyguard was like watching a remake of Midnight Run but if it was from the writer of Mr Bean's fucking Holiday. Beat for beat this film followed the DeNiro/Grodin classic but if all the jokes and charm of the original had been replaced by somebody that had only heard of the concept of 'wit' after having had a child explain it to them through the expressive art of dance. Ryan Reynolds is a bodyguard; Samuel L Jackson a hitman. The former must escort the latter from prison to court as the two avoid ambushes from other interested parties and bicker their way from A to B. Hilarity ensues.. is presumably what the writer wrote into the script with every intention of eventually going back and adding that hilarity.. before something got in the way and prevented them. I'm assuming death. Or at the very least I hope it was death because if they see the film that's finally hit the screen then they will likely end up dying of fucking shame regardless.

To say this film rams every one of its jokes into the ground would be to credit it with having had any jokes in the first place. I know where the jokes were meant to be because the intrusively patronising music would go into cartoon-comedy mode and the cast would get as close as they could to simply turning to the camera and doing a wink so fucking hard that you'd think they were having a fucking stroke. However, despite every single attempt at humour in this movie being as close to actual comedy as acquiring a triple-split hernia whilst on a particularly rough horse ride, they repeat each 'joke' over and over again. There are several times in which an overly sentimental moment is undercut with swearing, multiple situations are compared to the smell of a 'butt', and when all else fails the camera simply cuts to Samuel L Jackson saying the word “Motherfucker”. In fact this last point is even referenced in the film itself when Reynold's character says something along the lines of, “that word motherfucker is used so often that he's going to take all of the fun out of it”, and I completely agree. Reynolds is essentially playing the same old role that he always does however out of the two of them he's the Danny Glover half of the buddy movie combo that really doesn't have time for any of this shit. Never have I related to a character more.

In many ways, I like to think of The Hitman's Bodyguard as a litmus test for fucking idiocy. The only possible way that a person could laugh with it is if they were raised in a shoe-box by rats that treated their parental responsibility with apathy at best. My friend Kris loved it. As did the majority of the audience that were in the cinema with us too, to be honest. You can imagine my annoyance I'm sure. With every giggle or outright laugh that I heard I suddenly began to understand more and more how we'd had Brexit, or President Trump, or why bleach feels the need to have 'do not drink' written on the fucking bottle. At one point there's a chase through Amsterdam and we see a prostitute in her window and the audience I was with laughed. But I'm not even sure this was meant to be a joke? And if it was, could somebody please explain it to me? Was the joke simply that we got to see a pair of tits? Because I was aware that I was watching a pair of tits the moment that Samuel L Jackson and Ryan Reynolds began embarrassing themselves with their forced attempt at banter. Or was the joke simply that seeing a prostitute in a window is a bit strange to us? Because if that's the case I've been to Amsterdam. I once saw a gang of men paying a Euro a minute to masturbate in a titty-booth as two strangers robotically fucked on a revolving floor in the centre of the room. So I'm sorry for my life-experiences but a ropey Dutch tart with her baps out doesn't really do much for my funny bones these days.

As we hit the motorway on the drive home from the cinema and as I was debating whether or not I should push my friend out of the fucking car door and speed away from him forever, I asked what he'd liked so much about the film. His response was simply that “it was funny”. The odds of him being pushed out of the door increased. Diplomatically I countered with the rather valid point that despite what he thought, he was actually a complete fucking idiot and completely wrong. “Yeah.. well how come everybody else was laughing too then”, he responded. I tried to push him out. Damn those fucking child locks. Now I suppose you could argue that humour is subjective and what one person finds amusing another person might not due to there being no scientific way of proving if something is actually funny... unfortunately. And although the elitist and comedy snob in me doesn't want to end that argument there, let's assume that is true... even though it isn't. For the sake of this argument, we now live in a world in which Michael McIntyre is technically as funny as somebody who actually is funny like say Stewart Lee or Doug Stanhope, simply because his audiences likes him. What a miserable fucking world we now live in.

However almost nothing in The Hitman's Bodyguard is actually very original at all. As mentioned, the buddy-bickering and plot-beats are from, at least, Midnight Run. The film often uses inappropriately light music over scenes of violence as can be seen in a million other movies ranging from the use of Queen in Shaun Of The Dead to even Juice Newton's Angel Of The Morning in fucking Deadpool. In fact, there's even a scene in the beginning of The Hitman's Bodyguard in which we're treated to a drunk man whose intoxication is played for laughs, and do you know who plays that drunk man? Richard E fucking Grant... and do we really think this film will one day be mentioned in the same alcohol-reeking breath as the holiday-by-mistake masterpiece of Withnail And I? Because that's literally about as likely as Donald Trump ripping off his face and revealing that his whole miserable presidency has actually been a massive episode of Punk'd with him being played by Ashton Kutcher in a Jabba the Hutt mask and a pubey blonde head-wig. But that's not going to happen, is it. Because as unbelievable as Trump might be, Kutcher's acting ability is even fucking worse.

My point is that, in this 'subjectively valid' world in which McIntyre is considered as legitimately good a comedian as Stewart Lee simply because he can make his stupid audience laugh, surely a comedian that badly delivers somebody else's jokes would still be considered objectively terrible? Because- what have they done? They've just repeated the work of somebody else. By that logic a fucking parrot that's been sat next to a television playing Monty Python would be at risk of technically being as funny as John fucking Cleese. And The Hitman's Bodyguard has no original jokes of its own at all. You might find these jokes funny if you've not heard them in their original and superior context, but by just ripping them off the metaphorical comedian that's stolen them would surely be considered a bit of a shit-house? Which therefore makes this film a bit of a shit-house too.. even if you laughed at it. And trust me when I say that it's taking all of my strength not to end that sentence with “you fucking idiot”. But look on the bright-side - there's more to this movie than its terrible stolen jokes and forced banter... it actually does have an alright car chase and a less-than-shit shoot-out. Except, this is the year of Baby Driver and John Wick: Chapter Two. A year in which an alright car chase and a less than shit shoot-out doesn't quite make up for the giant-sinister cock-wart of a problem that the rest of the film faces. So... thanks for reading, motherfucker, and see you next time.

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