a critiQal film review The Bodyguard (1992)

  • DVD
  • Blu-Ray

Former U.S. Secret Service agent Frank Farmer (Costner) is still upset that he was away from the job when Hinckley tried to assassinate Reagan. Now a private bodyguard for VIPs, he reluctantly takes a job guarding Rachel Marron (Houston), a pop star well on her way to the top, who has had some recent run-ins with a persistent stalker. With Farmer irritating Rachel's staff by tightening security, the situation soon becomes more entangled when Rachel begins having feelings for her new bodyguard.

523 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 36s)
  • ...together, 90's action hero Kevin Costner and a better than expected fresh-faced Whitney Houston make this romantic thriller work, despite it's faults.

While perusing our choices of streaming movies available via NetFlix®, we stumbled across a film we hadn’t thought of in a while: The Bodyguard, starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston. Since we hadn’t seen this one in years, we figured we’d give it another shot.

Would it be fun going back and reliving Whitney Houston’s major starring role, in the era before she fell apart on “Being Bobby Brown” (TV), or would the years have given us a bit of perspective on a film we once thought was so worthwhile?

Kevin Costner was sort of the go-to action hero in the 90’s if the plot was a bit shaky – after all, he starred in Waterworld, a film that to this day is still considered one of the biggest flops of all time. Plus, after his roles in Dances with Wolves, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) and JFK (1991), he was quite the sought after actor in 1992 – and he shows why in The Bodyguard. Even along side inexperienced actress Whitney Houston – and despite a rather silly background story – he is quite convincing in his role as bodyguard. Sure, his character is about as solid as Swiss cheese (and done much better by Denzel later in Man on Fire (2004)), he still keeps the viewer tuned in.

Whitney Houston, in her first major starring role, actually doesn’t do that bad a job as Rachel Marron. While playing a pop star isn’t exactly a stretch for Houston, she does manage to keep the dialogue flowing smoothly, even during the romantic sequences between her and Costner. It’s a shame, really, as it showcases just a hint of what she could be doing these days if she hadn’t gone so wrong.

The whole set-up to The Bodyguard is rather simplistic, and is basically another variation on tossing two near-complete opposites at each other – the tough, stoic male and the gentle, emotional female – and letting them discover they fit together very well, as the emotional female breaking down the tough exterior of the gruff male, and the male helping the female discover her own inner strength.

That being said, the characters aren’t as fleshed out as viewers may have hoped for in The Bodyguard. The pathetic attempts at fleshing out the characters (including the whole rather silly background story for Costner’s stoic male role, which is never fully explained, or thought through) are weak. So much so that the viewers may wish the filmmakers hadn’t even tried to make these characters more three-dimensional.

The action is decent enough, if a little bit too staged. Still, it’s enough to keep the adrenaline up enough to last through the rather extended running time of over 2 hours.

Despite some major cliches and not very fleshed-out characters, The Bodyguard is still not a bad choice in the rather limited romantic thriller genre, thanks to a decent performance by 90’s action hero Kevin Costner and a better than expected fresh-faced Whitney Houston. Together, they help make the film work, despite it’s faults – making a look back at the film a bit bittersweet, considering the mess Whitney has made of her life since.

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