An interesting premise blending two of the action genre’s most interesting occupations, “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” is an action buddy comedy in the vein of “Lethal Weapon” or “Rush Hour” with one stark contrast; they are nemeses. It’s a spy-versus-spy of sorts, and I love the marketing angle and the casual way in which they are selling the idea. On paper, it’s actually pretty great. But I have one major problem that exacerbates the whole film.

Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) is a AAA-rated executive protection agent until he loses a client in a predictable opening sequence. The incident relegates him to what appears to be the shell of a man protecting B-list clients, although his skill set is still top notch. Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) is a legendary hitman with a flawless execution. They are naturally thrown together when Kincaid is scheduled to testify against a Russian warlord (Gary Oldman) and he needs protection. What ensues is the typical reluctant bonding experience where both begin to appreciate the other’s craft and they each learn a little something about themselves, softening up a bit and growing both professionally and personally.

The action is fantastic — great chases, explosions, fight scenes and a very humorous banter. But Samuel L. Jackson will be 68 years old in December. He’s in great shape for his age, but how many 68-year-olds can out-gun Interpol special forces agents? How many 68-year-olds can jump from a roof or get shot through the leg and keep running? I haven’t met many, but I would absolutely love to meet one. That’s my main gripe, and the fact that he can’t get through a sentence without cussing isn’t something that necessarily offends my sensitivities as much as it offends my respect for the man as an actor. He’s a one-trick pony, and more power to him for making his living spouting the same vulgar rhetoric every movie he’s in, but for me it gets a little old. Just like him.

Ryan Reynolds is his typical self as well. Full of one-liners and witty comebacks, he’s definitely more believable as an action star because, well, he is one. He carries his character just fine, but as half of the equation, it just doesn’t work to carry a whole film.

The plot being as simple as it gets, this is a fun film. It exceeded my very low expectations, but make no mistake: This is no “Lethal Weapon.” In fact, this rates pretty low on the buddy action comedy scale, but it is two hours of entertaining, mindless, popcorn-munching viewing. Take a little comfort in that, and I’m sure that the box office will reflect the audience’s desire for just that.

Novice director Patrick Hughes (“Expendables 3”) delivers a pretty impressive set of action sequences, but not a whole lot more. The film lacked some of the grit of some of the previous buddy films of the genre in favor of a more comedic approach, but that can be forgiven easily in the name of entertainment. I have a soft spot for Mel and Danny, but do recognize that that was nearly 30 years ago, and the general taste has changed significantly. One’s own personal influence only has so much clout when recommending entertainment to a broader audience after all.

If you’ve seen everything else and you’re looking to kill some time, or just stay cool on these dog days of summer, “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” will do better than some, but trust me, there’s a much better film out there right now (see “Wind River.”)

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