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'The Hitman's Bodyguard' trailer shows Ryan Reynolds hasn't let 'Deadpool' go to his head

We were worried he'd reverted to his robotic 'Two Girls and a Guy'/'Van Wilder'/'Waiting' days.
The Hitman's Bodyguard
Samuel L. Jackson teams up with Ryan Reynolds in the action-comedy "The Hitman's Bodyguard," hitting theaters on August 18. Credit: Jack English

We rarely pass up the opportunity to voice our unpopular opinion that “Deadpool” is bad — unfunny, annoying, hopelessly smug. But we also like to point a less controversial hot take: Ryan Reynolds is a good actor. He’s come a long way since his “Two Girls and a Guy”/”Van Wilder”/”Waiting” days, when he tried way too hard — when his comedy stylings were overly-strained, when his line deliveries and mugging was borderline robotic. We were glad when he loosened up, developed some real acting chops, when he pushed himself in smaller films like “Adventureland,” “The Voices” and especially “Mississippi Grind.” And we’re glad to see he’s not back to showboating in the trailer for this summer’s “The Hitman’s Bodyguard.”

The action-comedy has a new trailer, which shows off its high-concept premise: Reynolds plays a super-government agent tasked with protecting an infamous hitman (Samuel L. Jackson) en route to a big trial. There are explosions and shoot-outs. There are duels between our two heroes. And there’s lots of bantering between the odd couple.

There’s every reason this could have been Reynolds in wacky “Deadpool” mode; the poster even plays on the classic one for “The Bodyguard,” with Jackson in the Whitney Huston role and Reynolds his very own Kevin Costner. So breathe a huge sigh of relief: Reynolds looks like he’s going to be semi-recognizably human. He’s no comedy android. He even kind of lets Jackson, aka the coolest motherf—er on the planet, walk away with the trailer, or at least matches him quip for quip.

That being said, we’re not totally sold on this. Action and comedy are two flavors that don’t really go well together, no matter how many times filmmakers try to make them bedfellows. There are exceptions, of course. Edgar Wright knows how to do it, but mostly by making the comedy more prominent than the action, which is always done in quotation marks.

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“The Hitman’s Bodyguard” appears to want its cake and eat it, too. And it’s been directed by Patrick Hughes, last seen helming the beyond lackluster third “Expendables,” which didn’t exactly give him a chance to show off any comedic chops. Still, at least the trailer shows that Reynolds hasn’t backslid after having his first-ever mega-blockbuster. Perhaps “Deadpool” didn’t go to his head after all.

Watch the trailer below:

 
 
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