Needless to say I was dreading watching THE BODYGUARD. While the final product isn’t as bad as its most famous song, I definitely don’t see what the fuss is all about. In fact, I was pretty shocked to find that the script comes from Lawrence Kasdan, the man responsible for the words behind movies like RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, THE BIG CHILL and many more. While this technically was his first script originating in 1976, it still doesn’t represent the quality of work we’ve come to expect from the screenwriter. There’s plenty of drama to be mined from the story of a former secret service agent protecting a pop star from a deranged stalker, and Kasdan even tries to shoehorn in fitting parallels with some of Kurosawa’s great samurai epics, but the result just feels lacking.
Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston actually do have decent chemistry together, but their romance is hilariously rushed and unrealistic. One second Rachel despises him, the next she’s head over heels in love and sleeping with him, then back to hating, and so forth. Because of stuff like this, the characters are just not that likeable, which drags the entire film down. Houston is fine in her first movie role, but there’s no real subtlety to her performance or the wide range of emotions the role require. And while I think Kevin Costner is an underrated and unfairly maligned actor, his title character is just a joyless bore.
The story is appropriately melodramatic and executed as such by director Mick Jackson (L.A. STORY), but it too often revels in its own melodrama. Costner’s character is mopey and irritable the whole movie, which we find out is because he regrets not being on duty the day President Reagan was shot. Later we discover he wasn’t on duty because… he was at his own wife’s funeral! Again, there’s just no subtlety to THE BODYGUARD.
Memories of the Bodyguard (26:43): Taken from the 2005 DVD release, Costner, Kasdan and director Jackson look back at the troubled history of the film, its ultimate production and its newbie star Whitney Houston. It also features some interviews with Houston herself, but these are clearly taken from the time of the film’s original theatrical release.
You also get the “I Will Always Love You” Music Video and a Theatrical Trailer.
Extra Tidbit: Kasdan’s original 1976 script was meant for Steve McQueen and Diana Ross. It was almost made 67 times before 1992.