(Netflix Streaming, July 2018) You’d be forgiven for thinking that The Hitman’s Bodyguard would end up being another one of those run-of-the-mill action/comedy hybrids, with decent but not overwhelming amounts of both and a tendency to aim for the middle in a bid to make sure that the comedy crowd doesn’t get too disturbed along the way. But within moments, it becomes obvious that this film is going to play the action angle as hard as it can, showcasing a far bloodier kind of violence than is the norm for these movies. The action is a bit more elaborate and frantic, and the body count is definitely higher to the point of settling for a very dark kind of comedy. (Behind the scenes, much is explained by the fact that the film had its origin as an action drama, with the comedy added after casting was finalized.) Fortunately, in other ways, The Hitman’s Bodyguard does play it safer: by featuring Ryan Reynolds as the bodyguard and Samuel L. Jackson at the hitman, the film can rely on both actors’ established screen personas, Reynolds quipping like the best of them while Jackson curses up enough of a storm to be commented upon by his partner. Their back-and-forth is as good as these things usually get. Salma Hayek also brings a bit of expected spice as a fiery character cheerfully playing into her own persona and cultural heritage—it’s familiar, even stereotypical stuff, but it certainly works. I also liked Élodie Yung, but that’s because I like Élodie Yung in general—her character is a bit blander than the others, perhaps because the film’s overstuffed with strong personalities as it is. And that goes for the film as well—while it would have been a bit better without so much bloodshed, the result is surprisingly engaging, even in the middle of yet another car chase and familiar banter. Amsterdam makes for a fun backdrop, the action is furious, the comedy works and the actors deliver what they’re hired for. I don’t think that The Hitman’s Bodyguard will have much of a long shelf-life (although a sequel is coming, so that’s that), but it’s an entertaining enough diversion—although, once again, I could have used a bit less blood along the way.