It is exactly what it purports to be. Stupid, fun, hilarious action. That and nothing more.
The film follows the Executive Bodyguard Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) in his goal to get world class hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) from London to the Hague to testify in the trial of Belarus dictator Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman). The only question is who wants to kill Kincaid more, the goons hired by the dictator or his own bodyguard. There’s are some subplots as both men try and get back to the women they love, but it would be a little too generous to say that there is more to this movie than that.
Stylistically it is refreshing to see Ryan Reynolds not only try to play the straight man in this comedy duo, but it’s not terribly unsurprising that he can excel in this role as his previous work on The Woman in Gold showed that he has much more range than most probably associate with his career. As Deadpool pointed out it’s not his superior acting ability that got him this far, but that ability might keep him riding high for longer than anyone initially expected. At this point it would be nearly pointless to talk about the fact that Samuel L. Jackson does a spectacular job in his role, probably because there isn’t a role he can’t blend into well. Sadly, while Gary Oldman does an adequate job, it’s a role anyone could have played and didn’t require the excellence of Gary Oldman to do it.
It is simply a wonderfully enjoyable film. Not really intended to be more than a fun excursion of two hours.
However, there is one brief moment of depth in the film where Kincaid points out that most of the people that Bryce protects are fairly corrupt and that the only people he takes contracts to kill all deserve it (by his standards at least…it’s also clear that he’s fairly amoral so what counts as something worthy of death in Kincaid’s mind is almost certainly skewed from what most would consider morality). But in his own defense Bryce points out that he doesn’t get to decide who lives and who dies. And I think this is a very relevant point to make in the current political climate.
Jackson’s Kincaid is what we would all prefer to do in life. Be it with a fist, a gun, or as in the case of this movie, a broken beer bottle to the carotid artery; most of us look at rallies –of unquestionably vile Nazis, Klansmen, and alt-right scum countered by communists butchers who would be willing to repeat the atrocities of the last century of communist horrors all because they’re too stupid to understand even basic economics—and think I would really enjoy seeing this scum just wiped off the face of the planet. A modern Stalingrad which wiped out both Nazis and Communist would probably fill the hearts of many with a song…because let’s be bluntly honest, between the alt-right and antifa there isn’t a single decent person in either group. And deep down we would all like to indulge our inner Kincaid and at the very least punch them.
However, despite these urges we have to go with our inner Bryce and follow the law, because we don’t get to decide who lives and who dies. That is not for us. We have to follow the law, and annoyingly defend the right to speak for these sacks of shit. Now we may take the highest amount of glee when they step one nanometer over the law and bring down the harshest punishments possible, and be so incredibly justified in mercilessly defending ourselves when either group turns violent (as they always do). Which to a great degree is how Bryce deals with the violent people in his life—they’re pretty much all dead the second they go against him.
And I’ll grant I’m shoehorning this into a situation the writer was probably not thinking about, but it works. So, go for the humor and action, but take away one small scene that can illustrate some more relevant concepts.