Review: Reynolds, Hayek, and Jackson slum through lazy 'Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard’
Courtesy of Lionsgate
Summer movie seasons are never complete without one or several unnecessary and accidental sequels to sleeper hits from, checks watch, four years ago. Such is the case for Patrick Hughes' lazy, inept, and oddly titled “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard,” a follow-up to 2017’s late summer hit “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” which enjoyed a solid run at the box office because literally nothing else was out. Though not afraid to shy away from being a loud and obnoxious popcorn flick, the stacked cast, which features returning castmates Samuel L. Jackson, Ryan Reynolds and Salma Hayek and newbies Antonio Bandares, Morgan Freeman and Frank Grillo, can’t throw water on this fire, searching high and low for an arsenal of jokes that never land with cracks about “Braveheart,” “Armageddon,” and “Overboard” representing the best this tired action comedy can muster.
Lionsgate is recycling much of the same material which made “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” slightly enjoyable, and the camaraderie among Jackson and Reynolds remains a sole beacon of hilarity, but “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” coasts on fumes with its loose plot which calls once renowned triple A bodyguard Michael Bryce (Reynolds) back into action. Much like its predecessor, Bryce is stuck looking after a notorious (and most wanted) assassin, Darius Kincaid (Jackson) but his busty and dominant wife Sonia (Hayek) - who makes cracks up her sex drive and threatens to stick a dildo up Bryce’s ass - is now along for the ride having been saved at the tail end of the previous film. In a way, we did get warned this sequel could happen.
Banderas’ agent somehow roped him into playing a cartoonish (and GREEK!) madman with a plan to upend the entirety of Europe’s digital infrastructure so Greece can avoid getting slapped with harsh sanctions from the union. Tom O’ Conner’s screenplay doesn’t feel inclined to divy up a motive beyond one scene, instead leaving plenty of the legwork to the main trio, allowing them to clearly improvise whatever feels fresh in the moment. Some quips land their mark - Reynolds’ mile-a-minute “Deadpool” antics will occasionally yield a chuckle or two - while most fall painfully flat. How many times does Samuel L. Jackson need to spout his signature F-bomb catchphrase? According to Hughes, over a dozen.
This globetrotting adventure (take a shot for the amount of location cards the populate on screen to remind us we’re still in Italy for 98% of the movie) is a profanity lewd endeavour that’s like a road trip you can get away from. (The less said about Grillo’s Boston interpol agent and Freeman’s silly cameo the better). Running twenty minutes shorter than its predecessor, what’s most disappointing about “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” - which, sidebar, doesn’t make sense as a title considering the majority of the film is a shouting match between Jackson and Reynolds - is how a talented ensemble fails to translate how much fun they clearly had making the film to the audience. It’s obvious the cast worked at optimal levels when allowed to roam free and take the leashes off, but when restrained by a script that rivals an Adam West episode of “Batman” in sheer lunacy, the film, and all its tacky green screen/CGI tomfoolery, crumbles around them.
Stick a fork in this franchise and let’s call it a day.
HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD is now playing in theaters.