When Samuel L. Jackson came into his own as an actor in the nineties by way of Pulp Fiction (1994) he was like a force of nature. Intense, often alarming so, all eyes went to him when he was onscreen, be it his actions, that commanding voice, those blazing eyes, he pulled attention to him by sheer presence. After coming to the attention of critics for his superb performance as a manipulative junkie, Gator in Jungle Fever (1991) all paths led to Tarantino who cast him as Jules, the philosophical hitman in Pulp Fiction (1994) which earned the actor rave reviews, a loyal audience following and an Oscar nomination for supporting actor.
Boom, it was on for the actor!
Subsequent work in Jackie Browne (1997) continued the raves, as did Unbreakable (2000), Black Snake Moan (2007), Django Unchained (2009), The Hateful Eight (2015) and his much quoted, wildly over the top work in Snakes on a Plane (2006).
At this stage in his career, Jackson is in danger of becoming a Christopher Walken, much imitated, revered by his fellow actors even when he goes crazy over the top, but getting lazy in his work, all but phoning in his performances.
In this film, he gives a paint by numbers performance we have seen many times, a confident, ultra cool hitman, Darius, who is about to testify against a dangerous Eastern European maniac, Dukhovich, portrayed with teeth gnashing glee by Gary Oldman.
When Darius is targeted by Dukhovich for extermination, the best protection agency in the world assigns Michael (Ryan Reynolds) as the bodyguard and protector of Darius. The moment the two come together, the film is on, the match is lit and we are off and running, and car chasing, shooting, typical chase and mayhem.