(director: Patrick Hughes; screenwriter: Tom O’Connor; cinematographer: Jules O’Loughlin; editor: Jake Roberts; music: Atli Örvarsson; cast: Ryan Reynolds (Michael Bryce), Samuel L. Jackson (Darius Kincaid), Gary Oldman (Vladislav Dukhovich), Salma Hayek (Sonia Kincaid), Elodie Yung (Amelia Roussel), Yuri Kolokolnikov (Ivan), Rod Hallett (Professor Asimov), Joaquim De Almeida (Jean Foucher), Kirsty Mitchell (Harr), Richard E. Grant (Seifert), Tsuwayuki Saotome (Kurosawa); Runtime: 118; MPAA Rating: R; producers: John Thompson, Matt O’Toole, Les Welson, Mark Gill; Lionsgate, Summit Entertainment; 2017)

A cartoonish action comedy that thrives on its silliness, but becomes increasingly more annoying with every ongoing over-the-top violent set piece.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A cartoonish action comedy that thrives on its silliness, but becomes increasingly more annoying with every ongoing over-the-top violent set piece and shrill curse-filled banter between the two chatty protagonists. Each seems to think their stale quips never get old. Patrick Hughes (“The Expendables 3“/”Red Hill”) directs it for amoral laughs, as a mayhem-filled summer movie treat for those resting their brains for whatever. The ludicrous screenplay by Tom O’Connor is as bad as to be expected for such trash, that most likely has a target audience who will be entertained by such hokum and hearing Mr. Jackson repeatedly say “motherfucker.”The joke is that the notorious professional contract killer Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) needs a bodyguard Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds), who once ran a top-line protection agency, to protect him as he’s escorted from Manchester, England to The Hague, in Amsterdam, where the hit man is set to testify at an international human rights trial against the ethnic cleansing Belorussian dictator Dukhovich (Gary Oldman). We are led to believe the mass killer will go free without his testimony, that has to be gotten before the deadline time set by the judge. In exchange for his testimony, Darius’s imprisoned badass foul-mouthed wife Sonia (Salma Hayek) will go free and he will receive a court recommendation for a lighter sentence in England. The reason Bryce gets the job is because the Interpol soldiers escorting Darius never make it out of Manchester before their heavily-armed van is attacked. Agent Amelia Roussel (Elodie Yung, French actress), the one in charge of the escort, realizes there’s a leak from Interpol and rescues Darius to put him in the hands of her former boyfriend Bryce. The whiny dude 2 years ago lost a big-time arms dealer Kurosawa (Tsuwayuki Saotome) and has now gotten seedy running a second-rate agency. Bryce wrongly believed his girlfriend betrayed him until he learns from Darius that it was the hitman who assassinated his client and that had nothing to do with agent Roussel. So there we are, Darius and Bryce who hate each other but to survive must work together. Roussel and Bryce who love each other, but both still will only reunite by letting go of the past. Meanwhile the mole in Interpol has been bought by the tyrant and feeds him info on the route taken. This results in too many car chases, boat escapades, countless bloody killings, and explosions. All the action is built around a plot so tired it goes to sleep and never awakens. For those who get off on high octane action pics and have no interest in critiquing such an ugly picture, here’s your mindless summer film fix. It’s a clumsy film some may excuse because they find it entertaining, that would have sold its soul to be a cool Tarantino one.

REVIEWED ON 8/19/2017 GRADE: C+     https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/