PLOT: After taking a bullet for his mortal enemy, Darius Kinkaid (Samuel L. Jackson), the world’s most infamous assassin, bodyguard Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) finds himself stripped of his triple-A rating and unlicenced. On sabbatical, his vacation in Capri is interrupted by the arrival of Kinkaid’s wife, Sonia (Salma Hayek), who wants Michael’s help to rescue her husband, who’s been kidnapped.
REVIEW: First thing’s first: I wasn’t a huge fan of The Hitman’s Bodyguard but there were things about it that I liked. Mostly, I liked Ryan Reynolds, who was well-cast as the fastidious Bryce, and I enjoyed his chemistry with Samuel L Jackson’s Darius Kinkaid. The movie also had a super-evil villain, played by Gary Oldman, and some fun action scenes, which were well-directed by The Expendables 3 director Patrick Hughes.
While that movie was essentially a straightforward action flick with heavy doses of comedy, the genre’s been swapped here in almost the same way production company Lionsgate did when they made Red 2. It’s an all-out wacky comedy now, with no stakes at all, and absolutely no drama whatsoever. Everything and I mean everything is played for laughs and it doesn’t work. Reynolds works overtime to sell the new comic vibe, but the movie is a total cartoon from start to finish. For instance, there’s a running gag that Reynold keeps getting hit by cars throughout, with CGI showing him being knocked around, only for him to pick himself and brush himself off. It’s like they tried to make him Deadpool or Free Guy, but didn’t bother to throw in the conceit that makes that acceptable in those movies. Granted, a big action movie doesn’t need a ton of logic, but this pushes it.
The premise is basically that Bryce and Kinkaid are brought together by Darius’ wife Sonia, and all three are blackmailed by a CIA officer – played by a ridiculously underused Frank Grillo, to take down a Greek magnate, played by noted Greek thespian Antonio Banderas – note sarcasm- who wants to destroy Europe in a bid to rebuild Greece’s economy. It’s unbelievably stupid, but all involved try hard, with Banderas mugging with the best of them, although seeing him and Salma Hayek together makes you wish for another Desperado rather than…whatever this is.
Hayek’s got a bigger role than she did in the last movie as Kinkaid’s crazy wife, with her being the third lead. The idea is that she and Darius want to start a family but can’t conceive – the closest thing to drama the movie has. I’ll give the movie this – this idea sets up the one really solid joke in the movie, which pays off in the last scene and almost makes me want to see another “Hitman’s something or other”… But not quite.
Reynolds and Jackson still have good chemistry and Hayek is game, but the action is barely passable. Sure, there’s a lot of carnage and they milk the R-rating for gory headshots. However, twenty four hours after seeing it I was barely able to recall any cool action moments, except for a fight that’s noteworthy because it involves eighty-four-year-old Morgan Freeman being a credible badass. He has a top-secret part that’s initially quite clever but turns out to be two-dimensional, a shame as some stakes and a tiny bit of drama might have actually come out of his role.
What’s also insane is that Frank Grillo, who’s turning into a big action star, never gets in on the action at all, with him playing exposition guy. What a waste! Jackson also seems a little less prominent this time, with them relying on him saying mother fucker a lot, where in the first movie, he had an arc and a killer last scene with Oldman’s baddie, who for some reason is credited here despite only showing up in a second of stock footage from the original
Overall, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is a huge misfire and tanks what could have been an ok B-grade side franchise for Reynolds, Jackson and Hayek. Too bad, as the original isn’t a bad little movie and this could have been a fun action flick to kick off the summer.