Just off the cuff, I don’t think that I have ever seen a chase scene shot in Amsterdam. And as far as that weary old action-flick standby goes, it is a beauty too, involving a motorbike and a speedboat fanging along the canals, as well as the usual screaming, smashing, summersaulting cars. Otherwise, this is just another noisy, blood-splattered celebration of violent death (what is it about blokes having their brains blown out by gunfire that appeals to so many plebs?).
I pretty much lost interest in what is a predictable wank of a film soon after Richard E Grant’s coke-addled lawyer was written out of the script in the early stages (I kept hoping for him to come back). Michael (Ryan Reynolds), a bodyguard whose career has been on the slide since one of his clients was murdered, finds himself tasked with escorting Darius (Samuel L Jackson), a notorious hitman, from England to the Court of International Justice [laugh] in The Hague, where he will testify against the genocidal president of Belarus (Gary Oldman). Darius is really cool because he says ‘fuck’ a lot (it’s Jackson’s shtick – some fellows need to identify with it), and Michael is likeable because he is the boy-next-door with a stubble who only kills dozens of people (one of them twice, I thought), because they really deserve it. Penelope Cruz is in the mix as Darius’s imprisoned girlfriend, and you know she’s fab because she says ‘fuck’ almost as often as Darius.
The pity is that there is an interesting moral question being posed: Who is the bad (or good) guy? Jackson and Reynolds work well in a Butch and Sundance way, but what’s funny about slaughter? Footnote: I turned up at the cinema to see Ali’s Wedding, but the session had been cancelled. Sadly, the audience for a movie about who we are as Australians is nowhere near as large as that which is eager to be fed glossy rubbish like this. Give it a miss – it’s horrible.