'The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard' Rehashes Material That Wasn't Very Good the First Time Around Directed by Patrick Hughes
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Salma Hayek, Antonio Banderas
Published Jun 14, 2021Endless violence — albeit cartoonish and improbable — incessant profanity, infrequent laughs and surprisingly likeable leads. Those were the ingredients of the 2017 film The Hitman's Bodyguard, which, even with all its flaws, managed to turn a profit at the box office and at the very least provide an acceptable summer movie diversion.
In 2021, still in the midst of a global pandemic, a sequel no one really asked for emerges with The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard, a movie with most of the same elements of its predecessor. Yet, while the first film remains a largely forgettable, outlandish action-comedy, it still had a sense of originality to it. This cannot be said of the sequel, which is just a retread of material that was already straining to be good the first time around.
Returning director Patrick Hughes and stars Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson and Salma Hayek essentially take off from where they left off. Bodyguard Michael Bryce (Reynolds) is lured once more into the dangerous world of hitman Darius Kincaid (Jackson) and his equally explosive and profane wife Sonia (Hayek), though this time a formidable new foe emerges: the psychotic Greek billionaire Aristotle Papadopoulos, who is hell bent on taking over all of Europe. Surprisingly, Spanish star Antonio Banderas fills the shoes of this Hellenic antagonist (because apparently Spanish sounds like Greek?). But in reality, it's hard to distinguish who is really the villain in this story, since the "protagonists," namely Jackson and Hayek, are anything but heroic; indeed, we are meant to root for these anti-heroes, in spite of having few redeemable qualities.
Yet for all their unlikable characteristics, there's still some entertaining chemistry between Ryan Reynolds, Salma Hayek, and Samuel L. Jackson; if the screenplay didn't rely so heavily on low-brow humour (which in itself is hit or miss) and used the violence to enhance the stakes (rather than bombarded audiences with blood within the first 10 minutes of the film), The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard has all the star power to be a good summer escapist flick.
Instead we have a generally unfunny, silly (in the wrong way) and overtly violent film, which squanders the talent assembled on screen. It's a problem that not even the world's best bodyguard could protect us from. (VVS)