The Bodyguard (1992)
Costner finds Love in Houston
Alexander Graham Bell to see Miss Marron - Frank
For everything which is wrong with it and yes there is plenty, I do like "The Bodyguard" but I do wonder how differently it could have been. You see "The Bodyguard" was thought up in the 1970s and at the time it was going to be Steve McQueen and Diana Ross as the stars, it never happened nor did it happen when Ryan O'Neal who at one point was also lined up to star opposite Ross. In fact it wasn't until 15 years after Lawrence Kasdan wrote the story did it eventually get made and we got the cheesy but popular Costner and Houston romantic drama. To be honest it's a good storyline, a little bit far fetched in places, weak in other but between the drama, romance and the singing strangely works.
When pop diva Rachel Marron (Whitney Houston - The Preacher's Wife) receives a series of threatening letters her manager Devaney (Bill Cobbs - New Jack City) persuades top bodyguard Frank Farmer (Kevin Costner - JFK) to come and be her personal protection. But Frank's no messing attitude upsets plenty of people including Rachel who does not like his changing of her comfortable set up. But when she realises not only how serious things are and how good Frank is she not only accepts him being there but falls for him in turn he falls for her. But being romantically involved with the person he is hired to protect complicates issues especially for Frank who prides himself on his professionalism.
For the most part "The Bodyguard" is very obvious from Frank not wanting to take a job of protecting a celebrity through to the antagonistic relationship and romance it is all very obvious. But whilst obvious it is entertaining as we watch Frank whip Rachel's security into shape whilst rubbing up her team of lackeys the wrong way. You know he is going to come to blows with her agent and her existing security man but when it arrives it's entertaining even if the heroic aspect of Frank borders on the cheesy. You just have to watch the scene where he deals with her heavy Tony to realise how cheesy it all is. And likewise you know that whilst Frank and Rachel initially don't get on they will end up becoming involved and to be honest director Mick Jackson does nothing to disguise its obviousness.
But whilst all of this is obvious when it comes to the actual thriller side of things, and yes "The Bodyguard" has a sort of thriller aspect, it's not completely obvious. It sort of toys with you as we are well aware of who is behind the dodgy phone calls and letters yet it serves up a twist just when you think you know how it's going to play out. Part of the twist is good but then there is part of it which isn't and of course this leads to an expected final act of heroism from Frank as he tackles the person who is threatening Rachel. It's all very over the top, unbelievable and cheesy but by the time it arrives you are so sucked into the story that you don't give a damn you just want heroics and drama and that is what it serves.
Of course a big part of why "The Bodyguard" works is because it has a knockout soundtrack and even if "I Will Always Love You" has become one of those songs which border on the painful thanks to so many people trying to sing it, in the movie it works. It's not a surprise really as Whitney Houston of the early 90s was a great pop singer and what she could deliver as a pop star certainly comes across in the movie. To be honest Houston is playing a variation on herself, embellishing aspects of her own personality and so in some ways it does feel like a bit of a rough performance but then it strangely works because it's not honed to perfection. As such whilst we may be introduced to Rachel as a spoilt Diva the warmth of the person behind the facade is present as well.
Aside from Houston there is of course Kevin Costner who seems to be trying to give us some Steve McQueen with a haircut which to be frank looks wrong. But aside from the haircut Costner does a nice job of playing bodyguard Frank Farmer, he may be at times a bit cavalier and comical but he is also heroic which is what you want. There are times when Costner over plays the character and it becomes forced and cheesy but there is something about him, maybe the underlying kindness of the character which makes him likeable.
"The Bodyguard" is mainly about Houston and Costner but the rest of the cast add to the enjoyment from Mike Starr as cliche heavy Tony through to Gary Kemp who is almost caricature like as Rachel's promoter Sy Spector. Elsewhere both Bill Cobbs and Ralph Waite add some senior style nicety and Christopher Birt is fun as cocky limo driver Henry even if the character is a walking cliche.
What this all boils down to is that technically "The Bodyguard" is nothing more than average and veers towards being an incredibly cheesy romantic drama. But ironically for all which is wrong it still is entertaining almost a guilty pleasure because of how cheesy it is.
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