Director: Patrick Hughes
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Salma Hayek, Tom Hopper, Antonio Banderas, Frank Grillo and Morgan Freeman
Run time: 1h 39min
Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson return in the sequel to 2017’s daft, yet enjoyable, mis-matched buddy action comedy, The Hitman’s Bodyguard. Now we have The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard as this follow-up features even more Sonia (Salma Hayek), the potty-mouthed, outrageously feisty partner of badass assassin Darius Kincaid (Jackson).
The first film saw disgraced professional bodyguard Michael Bryce (Reynolds) reluctantly tasked with chaperoning the deadly Kincaid to The Hague so he could testify in the trial of a vicious dictator (Gary Oldman). The comedy came from Bryce’s anally organised and uptight way of life clashing spectacularly with Kincaid’s more frivolous and carefree outlook to proceedings. Combining that with some excellent set-pieces made for fun viewing, even if it was a little predictable.
In this latest instalment, Bryce is on a self-imposed sabbatical attempting to find inner-peace after losing his triple-A bodyguard licence. His tranquil retreat is violently interrupted by Sonia who needs his help in rescuing her husband from the Mafia. In a confusing plot twist, the three find themselves working for Interpol who are attempting to stop Greek tycoon, wait for it, Aristotle Papadopolous (Banderas), from crippling Europe with a computer virus in retaliation to the EU’s financial sanctions on his home land.
If you enjoyed the first film (I did), The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is going to go one of two ways for you. You’re either going to enjoy it as well, or it’ll be a disappointing, unoriginal let-down that has its moments, but not enough to warrant a third outing.
Sadly, it was the latter for me.
There’s definitely fun to be had with it. Hayek’s energy and colourfully inventive language is amusing until it’s not and some of the set-pieces are explosively exciting, but there’s nothing we haven’t seen before or done better. The banter between Reynolds and Jackson wears thin very quickly and needed taking down a decibel or three and surely even Jackson himself is bored of saying his trademark favoured expletive. Indeed, repetition is one of the main issues. Songs from the first film are recycled as well as many of the stunts. Reynolds getting run over happens more than once as well as the seat-belt-windscreen gag.
Morgan Freeman, with one of the films best jokes, brings his usual gravitas to proceedings and is a breath of fresh air, but Antonio Banderas is a paint-by-numbers villain and spends too long away from the screen. Tom Hopper as Bryce’s nemesis and golden-boy of the triple-A bodyguard world impresses and arguably would’ve made a better villain than Banderas.
Frustratingly inconsistent and relying far too heavily on its predecessor and the natural charm of its lead actors, it’s probably best to kill this franchise off.
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is out now in UK cinemas.