Friday, June 2, 2017

The Bodyguard (2016) - Foreign Film Friday

Number Rolled: 96
Movie Name/Year: The Bodyguard (2016)
Tagline: None
Genre: Action, Thriller, Crime, Drama
Length: 98 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: Edko Films, Focus Films, Irresistible Films, Lava Bear Films
Producer: Ivy Ho, William Kong, Andy Lau, David Linde, Tory Metzger, Hugh Simon
Director: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung
Writer: Jun Jiang
Actors: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Jacqueline Chan, Qinqin Li, Andy Lau, James Lee Guy, Tomer Oz, Jia Song, Shaofeng Feng, Maksim V. Manylov, Yuchen Zhu
Stunts: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Bruce Law, Yee Man Law, Tomer Oz

Blurb from Netflix: A retired security officer with dementia befriends a little girl whose father is running from the mob. To save her, his old skills start to kick in.

Selina’s Point of View:
The Bodyguard was thrilling and emotional with just a dab of humor.

Where foreign films are concerned, I’m always a little bit iffy about judging the non-fantasy versions. I mean, if there are vampires and dragons and tons of fighting… that’s kind of universal. There might be some mythology I’m unfamiliar with, but that’s usually explained in the film. More realistic plots are a bit different. I’m rarely familiar with the political climate or pop culture references that are specific to that part of the world during the time of filming.

This movie was slightly different. I understood the majority of the references. In fact, it felt like The Bodyguard was less of a proper foreign film and more of a film made for English audiences by a foreign company. Of course, this could all go back to my being ignorant about many other cultures. Maybe the Cantonese culture isn’t all that far removed from my own.

Whatever was behind the creation of this film, it was still a fun watch. It was supremely corny in places, but it worked with the film.

Sammo Kam-Bo Hung (God of War, The Last Tycoon, Naked Soldier) brought a lot of nuance to his part. The Bodyguard followed your basic ‘old guy in an action film’ recipe, but Kam-Bo Hung was definitely not quite what one would expect from the leading man. Between the twist on the well-known protagonist arch-type and the varying emotions necessary for his character, Kam-Bo Hung was faced with a difficult part and wound up meeting the challenge.

I didn’t realize he’d also directed the film. It takes a hell of a lot of work to direct and act in the same project. It’s worth noting that he didn’t show the strain.

I was also impressed by the performance of Jacqueline Chan (Girl of the Big House, Firestorm, The White Storm). It’s easy to care about the child character in a film like this because we’re conditioned by society (thankfully) to want to care for kids. That’s why it’s not always necessary for a child actor to be on point. They can use their parts as a kid to learn how to be better actors in the future, but I actually believed Chan’s characterization of Cherry Li. She managed to portray the full range of emotions necessary with very little flaw.

The ending was just awesome, it choked me up more than I thought it would.

I saw Wonder Woman earlier (you’ll get to read about that on Sunday) and The Bodyguard right after. Tonight was simply a good night for films.

Cat’s Point of View:
It’s a glorious thing when a foreign film is enjoyable to watch to the extent that you forget you’re reading the subtitles. Which were actually pretty good, with a nice bright yellow to contrast and kept a good pace with the dialogue.

Dementia is something that hovers in the wings like the proverbial sword of Damocles for all too many of us. I’ve had family members afflicted by it, and it’s hard to watch. I could really empathize with the character, Ding, and his early onset memory issues.

This is a wonderful tale that mixes love (the protective familial kind), martial arts action, a compelling story, a spin-kick to the feels, and a sprinkle of comedy. I tell you, this movie zigged when I thought it was going to zag.

I’m not crying, I’m having allergy eyes.

I was excited to see that this film was both directed by and starring Sammo Kam-Bo Hung (Kung Fu Chefs, Ip Man 2, Rise of the Legend). That immediately set my expectations high, and I wasn’t let down. The man is a legend in the martial arts action movie genre. I believed what he was selling with his character, and even amidst the super serious nature of the plot he still worked in a light touch of levity.

There’s a Disney movie reference in the film regarding him that made me giggle-snort.

I would be happy to recommend this movie anytime, and wouldn’t even mind watching it again.

Speech Available: Cantonese
Subtitles Available: English

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 17%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 19%
Metascore - None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 5.9/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating3.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating4/5

Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: R

P.S.  Found on IMDb as My Beloved Bodyguard

Movie Trailer:

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