This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative.
It’s time to look at a 90’s action film. You can definitely rest assured that there is a good amount of action here. The film’s a bit on the long side which isn’t really an issue but it did seem to challenge the writers a bit. In particular there is one plot that seems to go in circles more times than it should and I’ll go into more detail on that later. This is a solid film but one that could have been a whole lot better. Regardless, it’s a good way to spend 2 hours.
The film starts off with introducing us to Frank. He’s the best in the biz when it comes to being a bodyguard but he doesn’t do a lot of work anymore. That all changes when an old friend shows up and asks him to bodyguard a famous celebrity known as Rachel. Her plight is that someone has been sending her a ton of death threats and her life may be in danger. Frank doesn’t want to take the job when he sees how nobody is taking this seriously and Rachel is clearly not going to play ball. Ultimately he decides to take the gig though and it could be his toughest one yet.
There are a few things here that makes everyone look terrible. For starters, nobody actually told Rachel that she was in danger. Yes, all of the threats and such have been hidden from her, even the note left on her bed showing that the guy broke into her home. The agents figure this will just make her upset. Yeah, it’ll make her upset and that’s the point. She should know that someone is after her life. It makes her position of thinking that Frank is not necessary a bit more understandable at least in the beginning. I do think Frank also needs to take some blame here for not making sure she knew. Once he finds out he says that someone should tell her…so the guy in charge of hiding this from her claims he will do it. Naturally he does not.
Frank had no reason to trust this guy and should have told Rachel personally. My issue with Rachel though is how she acts after she knows about this. She takes it well at first until another threat comes in. Then she tells Frank that she will take it seriously and listen to him…until she doesn’t. They have a quick affair and then he pulls back thinking that this won’t be professional. To get back at him she decides to put her life in jeapordy on purpose with parties and vanishing for a few hours. She’s also putting her son in danger by doing stuff like this but doesn’t seem to notice. After more events happen she goes back to saying she will play ball…and then she rebels again in the final scenes.
Rachel’s probably got to be one of the most annoying characters I’ve seen in a while. If someone tries to murder you multiple times you’d think that you would take it very seriously at that point. Not doing so just doesn’t seem like something a reasonable person would do. I guess that’s the problem with Rachel, she doesn’t seem like a reasonable character. She’s very extreme throughout the film and while that may work in some settings, it certainly doesn’t here.
She’s surrounded by a bunch of sketchy characters as well although none of their lives are in danger so you get it a little more. Her agent in particular just loves being famous so he wants to put her life at risk as much as possible to get more records. The driver is a pretty good character. He gets with the program very quickly so I definitely appreciated that.
Rachel’s old bodyguard Tony is also reasonable. He really was doing a fine job of being a bouncer before Frank showed up so you can understand his apprehension. Also when Frank let his feelings get the best of him again and dashed off Tony was the only one to protect Rachel from someone trying to assault her. So he did step up when it counted and always did act in Rachel’s best interests. I would make the case that he may have even been a better character than Frank. I had my issues with Frank.
Before I dive into him, I have to say that Nicki’s also a pretty bad character. She seems very jealous and petty right off the bat and that only gets worse as the film goes on. It’s hard to have any real sympathy for her because of how far it all goes. Like Frank said, she should have just pursued a different career if this was going to make her jealousy levels go higher and higher. Working for the paparazzi isn’t for everyone. It’s a thankless job where you’ll be treated badly more often than not.
All right, now it’s time for Frank. He’s clearly great at his job and has a lot of skills so I won’t argue against that. What holds him back as a character is how he lets his emotions get the better of him all the time. Even starting the affair with Rachel was something he shouldn’t have done. He’s on a mission right now so that’s a clear conflict of interest and it makes him look unprofessional. Starting the affair and then suddenly cutting it off doesn’t make him look any better either. It makes him appear wishy washy. Then he takes out his frustration on innocent people like the random guy in the kitchen. Frank beats him down pretty thoroughly and you know it’s because of Rachel which makes the whole thing even worse.
Throw in the fact that he forgot to actually make sure Rachel knew the risks early on and his constant complaining and you have a lead who is not all that reliable. He can still fight so he does act as a solid bodyguard but he needs to keep a lid on those emotions. He’ll never be the next 007 or Ethan Hunt if he stays at this level. The ending of the film hopefully shows that he has some promise as he seems ready for the mission. You could probably make a pretty good sequel to this movie because the premise allows for many different stories.
All right, so for some positives now we have the fight scenes. Those are handled pretty well when they occur. Surprisingly we never get a true hand to hand fight with the villains though. Most of it is about dodging possible attempts on Rachel’s life or dealing with randoms. So it may be more accurate to say that the action scenes are good. The film is also pretty interesting which is important for a long title like this. You’ll be interested in what’s going on the whole time. There are also a few twists about the main villain which is neat. I think you’ll probably suspect something is up early with how they show the villain and how weak he seems to be, but it’s still a pretty solid twist anyway.
Overall, The Bodyguard delivers on the action and intensity. It’s a long film and does feel like a true blockbuster. The character cast is pretty weak though. Rachel really doesn’t co-operate as much as she should and Frank is way too emotional to be an agent. One more scene to show why he wasn’t cut out at this is when at night he decides to “subtly” play Rachel’s music on max volume in his home theater. Now he can’t hear anything going outside and neither can any of the security guards. Considering he was doing this on the sneak it didn’t really make a lot of sense and if the villain had been around that would have ended really badly. Don’t hire this guy as your bodyguard.