Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard

Review by Rich Cline | 3/5

Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
dir Patrick Hughes
scr Tom O'Connor, Brandon Murphy, Phillip Murphy
prd Christa Campbell, Lati Grobman, Matthew O'Toole
with Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L Jackson, Salma Hayek, Antonio Banderas, Morgan Freeman, Frank Grillo, Caroline Goodall, Tom Hopper, Gabriella Wright, Alice McMillan, Gary Oldman, Richard E Grant
release US/UK 15.Jun.21
21/UK Lionsgate 1h38

banderas freeman grillo
See also:
The Hitman's Bodyguard (2017)

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reynolds, hayek and jackson
Everything is bigger and not necessarily better in this bombastic sequel to the engagingly chaotic 2017 action comedy. While director Patrick Hughes accelerates the pace and expands the mayhem, the script becomes more fragmented, mishandling what made these characters so much fun the first time around. The cast is still terrific, with big energy and expert comical timing, but this movie is much more cynical, with even nastier violence.
After a bout of therapy, disgraced bodyguard Michael (Reynolds) goes on sabbatical to Capri with a vow to avoid guns. But con artist Sonia (Hayek) turns up in a hail of bullets, dragging Michael away to help rescue her hitman husband Darius (Jackson), the source of Michael's trauma. As soon as the trio is reunited, they find themselves catapulted into an enormous plot by Greek shipping magnate Aristotle (Banderas) to wreak terrible revenge on Europe. Travelling around Italy, they get entangled with some Interpol agents (Grillo and Goodall) and things get increasingly more explosive.
There's a careful structure here, cycling between riotously destructive set-pieces, deliberately corny melodrama and witty gags. Round and round the film goes, as each sequence escalates into anarchy and the body count grows exponentially. So it's easy to lose track of what makes all of this tick: the kinetic chemistry between Reynolds and Jackson, with added fireball Hayek. So it's counterproductive to push them apart, pit them against each other and send them on separate routes to an absurd finale on a super-yacht as the clock counts down to Europe's obliteration.

As the hapless but preternaturally skilled Michael, Reynolds delivers an enjoyably self-deprecating turn, reluctantly going along with the plainly psychopathic Darius and Sonia. Jackson's full-on glee and Hayek's snappy wit feel pushier than before, but are still a lot of fun to watch. Although the dynamic between these characters sometimes feels forced this time. Of the terrific ensemble of side players, Freeman has the best role, even if it's somewhat thankless.

Underpinning all of the silliness is a growing friendship that feels swamped by the script's manic activity. It's still diverting to watch such sharp-edged interaction between three people who don't want to admit that they like each other, and there are several hilarious moments as watchable stars Reynolds, Jackson and Hayek run wild with the premise. This makes up for some awkward lapses and appalling sentimentality. And it keeps us mindlessly entertained. But it ends up feeling busy rather than satisfying. tt8385148

cert 15 themes, language, violence, sexuality 14.Jun.21

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© 2021 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall