16th Jun2021

‘The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard’ Review

by Matthew Turner

Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Salma Hayek, Antonio Banderas, Morgan Freeman, Richard E. Grant, Frank Grillo, Rebecca Front | Written by Tom O’Connor, Brandon Murphy, Phillip Murphy | Directed by Patrick Hughes

Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson and Salma Hayek reunite with director Patrick Hughes for a sequel to 2017’s disappointing action caper The Hitman’s Bodyguard. Unfortunately, the best you can say about it is that it’s marginally better than the first film.

Reynolds plays former triple-A rated bodyguard Michael Bryce, who’s had his license taken away because of his multiple failings, several of them the direct result of his association with hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson). When his exasperated therapist (a wasted Rebecca Front) recommends a vacation, Bryce heads to picturesque Capri, but he’s barely there five minutes before Darius’ fiery-tempered wife Sonia (Hayek) plunges him into the centre of a gunfight and recruits him into helping her rescue her captured husband (Jackson).

During the rescue, the trio accidentally kill a valuable FBI informant, so Agent O’Neill (a wasted Frank Grillo) forces them to help him take down Greek cyber-terrorist Aristotle Papadopolous (a wasted Antonio Banderas), who’s plotting to sabotage the EU’s computer systems by drilling through an undersea data hub. Along the way, Darius and Sonia attempt to rectify their fertility problems and Bryce seeks help from his step-father (a casting gag you can probably guess from the poster).

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is not a movie to which you can safely apply sense or logic. In fact, if you took a drink every time there was a plot hole, inconsistency or moment of abject stupidity, you’d be paralytic before the thirty minute mark. Examples range from the three characters taking a drive in what is very obviously a two-seater car (without making a joke out if it) to plot points that are simply never addressed, such as why there are gun-toting goons after Salma Hayek’s character when she first appears.

The problems don’t end there. The least you’d expect from this sort of thing is a decent action scene, but The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is filled with badly staged, poorly shot and abysmally edited fight sequences that are so chaotic that it’s impossible to tell what’s going on from one moment to the next. Elsewhere, the film just substitutes destruction and loud noises for actual tension or thrills – for example, one random car chase somehow results in an entire bridge exploding, without any impact on the plot.

The dialogue is marginally better than it was the first time round, but that really isn’t saying very much. There’s also lots and LOTS of swearing, almost as if the film was trying to break some sort of record, but it’s not the sort of swearing that’s any fun to listen to and it gets extremely tiresome after a while.

Hughes may not know how to direct a coherent action sequence, but he does at least keep things moving along at a decent pace. Similarly, Reynolds’ comic persona is always watchable and Hayek is clearly enjoying herself even if she’s CONSTANTLY SHOUTING. However, Jackson often seems forced by comparison, like he doesn’t really want to be there, picturesque Italian locations or no picturesque Italian locations.

In fairness, there are at least two decent laughs in The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, which is two more than there were last time round. Ultimately, the difference is that the first movie didn’t know how terrible it was, whereas this one knows, but doesn’t care and the resulting we’re-just-going-to-do-whatever-the-hell-we-want attitude ends up working in the film’s favour.

** 2/5

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is in UK cinemas now.


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