Film misses mark despite its potentially great pairing

On paper, the big screen pairing of Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson in the summer shoot-'em-up “The Hitman's Bodyguard” looks quite promising.

But we're also in the midst of that late-summer dumping ground, and there's usually a reason movies get these releases.

While it delivers on basic expectations, it had the components to be so much better.

Michael Bryce (Reynolds) is a smooth and cocky high-priced bodyguard. That is until one of his high-priced clients gets assassinated while on his watch. Two years later, Michael has seen an expected downturn in business.

But when Eastern European strongman Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman, collecting a paycheck) goes on trial at The Hague for war crimes, a key witness is an obvious target for assassination.

That witness is Darius Kincaid (Jackson), himself a former hitman. Michael and Darius have a questionable past, but must put their differences aside and work together, because this is a buddy movie.

Director Patrick Hughes (“The Expendables 3”) delivers a loud (really loud) ballet of gunplay that has spy thriller elements but strays into Michael Bay territory. The lazy plot strings together plenty of action sequences that will scratch that itch if it's all you're looking for.

But he was given two great stars that are both working in their respective wheelhouses. Reynolds and Jackson fire off as many one-liners as bullets, but the chemistry isn't quite there. Blame the material, not the actors, both of whom seem game.

Even Oldman just seems like a caricature of a baddie, at times. “The Hitman's Bodyguard” had a big enough target that it's disappointing it's not a bullseye.