Last year was a real turning point in the career of Ryan Reynolds. He found all sorts of acclaim for his turn in Deadpool, a passion project of his for years now. That’s launched the already successful star into the stratosphere, with bigger things set to come his way. This week, Reynolds goes the action comedy route with The Hitman’s Bodyguard, pairing him with the one and only Samuel L. Jackson in the process. More important than this somewhat disposable seeming flick is the fact that, post Deadpool, Reynolds is finally the A-lister that Hollywood was always trying to make him into.
This film is, as mentioned above, an action comedy. Reynolds stars as Michael Bryce, the world’s top bodyguard. After a high profile embarrassment puts his career in jeopardy, he’s given a shot at redemption when a job protecting a hit man named Darius Kincaid (Jackson) comes along. Kincaid is about to testify before the Hague in regards to the crimes of Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman). Suffice to say, he wants Kincaid never to make it to the International Court of Justice. It’s up to Bryce to make sure it happens. The mismatched pair must stay alive if Dukhovich will be brought to justice, not to mention make sure that Kincaid’s wife Sonia (Salma Hayek) is protected. Patrick Hughes directs a script by Tom O’Connor here. In addition to the aforementioned cast, the movie also includes Richard E. Grant and Elodie Yung, among others.
Pre Deadpool, Reynolds was sort of pigeonholed as a romantic comedy leading man. He certainly has the charisma for it, but he has more edge than that, so they never quite fit him like the glove Hollywood had hoped for. There were also action hero roles, but blander ones that mostly wasted him (cough, Green Lantern, cough). His best work was when he could be serious, in things like Adventureland, Buried, and Mississippi Grind. Easily three of his top performances, they show him stretching and inhabiting characters in a way that served him well when the Merc with a Mouth came along and finally got the green light last year.
Post Deadpool, Reynolds is now a Golden Globe nominee and as big an A-lister as ever. His offbeat superhero flick damn near scored an Academy Award nomination in the process. That’s something. Not only does he have the Deadpool sequel in production right now, but he took on a nice little supporting part in this summer’s science fiction outing Life. He’s seemingly being a bit pickier than he’s previously been, and that’s a very good thing. With the ability to have more say in the roles, better ones will come his way. Deadpool 2 should just be the tip of the proverbial iceberg for the actor.
Here is how I would rank Reynolds’ ten best performances to date:
10. Buying the Cow
9. National Lampoon’s Van Wilder
8. Woman in Gold
7. Paper Man
6. Definitely, Maybe
5. The Nines
3. Mississippi Grind
Honorable Mention: Chaos Theory, The Proposal, and Waiting…
Tomorrow, audiences can see Reynolds do what he’s grown to do so well in The Hitman’s Bodyguard. If the film doesn’t appear to be anything special, both Reynolds and Jackson are in their comfort zones. Going forward, it will be fascinating to see what Reynolds does with his newfound clout. There will be more Deadpool adventures, obviously, but also likely some further shots are serious acclaim. Personally, I think he’s capable of getting nominated for an Oscar. More work like Buried or Mississippi Grind will put him into contention, without question. I’ll be watching closely, and you should be as well…
Be sure to check out Reynolds in The Hitman’s Bodyguard, opening everywhere this weekend!