Let’s start with the most obvious question: who the hell was asking for? “Bodyguard of Hitman’s Wife”? The original “The killer’s bodyguard” Released in 2017, it is an exercise in soulless, humorless, shiny “style”: boring (but endless) action, musty side-mate game, nonsensical pin drops and a mind-boggling certainty that there is absolutely nothing more fun in this world than uttering a word with four or twelve letters. It seems like a movie made by and for 12 year olds, but it is rated “R” which is why it is so shocking that it grossed $ 176 million worldwide, which arguably answers the original question. If you bought one of these tickets, you are the person who asked about Hitman’s wife’s bodyguard. And I’m not happy about it.
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The original film wasted the talents of Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Salma Hayek, and Richard E. Grant. This sequel brings them all back and is paying off Antonio Banderas and Morgan Freeman also to do some slumming. Banderas plays a Greek gazillionaire who tries to thwart the country’s expulsion from the EU by threatening to dismantle Europe’s infrastructure, so we have hackers and coordinates in briefcases and a stolen diamond drill, as announced shortly before the climax in case you showed up late or forgot the title of the film you are watching: “The fate of Europe is in the hands of a hit man … and a bodyguard!”
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See, for reasons that might only make the most fleeting seconds of sense to the screenwriters of the picture, see a rogue Interpol agent (Frank Grillo) forces bodyguard Michael Bryce (Reynolds), hit man Darius Kincaid (Jackson) and hit man’s wife Sonia Kincaid (Hayek) to go undercover as criminals to buy these coordinates … or something. The screenwriter of the first film, Tom O’Connor, is one of three credited writers on this (and director Patrick Hughes returns too), but they have to undo much of the previous movie’s resolutions for this to exist: they don’t even mention, let alone, the ex-girlfriend (Elodie Yung) that was Michael’s entry point and motivation, or an attempt to explain away their reconciliation at the end of the story; likewise they ignore the (inevitable) reluctant affection to which Michael and Darius have come as well.
Instead, they return Michael to the point of weakness, despair, and despair he began when he tried to take a “sabbatical” of guns and violence on the orders of his psychiatrist. (The “on sabbatical” piece is one of the few clever ideas in the film; “I’m not making guns right now,” he explains as he kills thugs with pepper spray.) Sonia pulls him out of this oasis of calm, a character which again consists of a single, sad joke: She is petite and pretty, but she is too pissed off. Can you imagine something like that? Darius has been kidnapped and she needs Micheal’s help, as briefly as the movie title says, he’s actually the bodyguard of the hit man’s wife, which allows Hughes and his writers to replicate the dynamics of the earlier film (and some of the same gags) . But then they save Darius, and from that point on, Michael is … basically just the gunman’s bodyguard again. I call title fraud! (And don’t even get me started with the missing “The”. It’s cleaner I think.)
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Anyway, the central gag is that Sonia wants to use her daring undercover mission as a honeymoon for her and Darius, hoping to start a family and so on. This leads to an abundance of situations and dialogues that feeling as should Being jokes – they have the cadence and format of them – but are rarely really funny. I counted exactly a good line from Michael about Sonia’s suitability as a mother: “I wouldn’t leave a Chucky doll in her care!” And I giggled again when Banderas spoke of it affectionately “Over board” as a “little classic”.
It’s one of several scenes he and Hayek share, and I’ve spent almost twenty years making another movie together, but … not like that. Not like that. In fact, there is a moment towards the end when Banderas breaks his neck before going to kill, just like he did “Desperado”, and it mainly serves as a cruel reminder of how deep we have all fallen; That point is driven home by the following climax, where it’s just depressing to see how many really great actors (and their stunt people) fail to convince each other.
“The Hitman’s Bodyguard” wasn’t exactly a bouquet of roses to begin with – the buddy-action comedy is one of the panting subgenres that still kick off – so the idea of rehashing it at all feels like a copy of a copy of a copy. The jokes don’t land (sample dialogue: “This is not a honeymoon – this is a fucking moon!”) And although the action sequences are somewhat kinetic, they are all played at the same speed and at the same pace, which ultimately makes them (uncomfortably) exhausting. And as with the first film, the adjacent visual effects – explosions, fires, even helicopters in the air – are devastatingly unconvincing. (Besides, hand to god, they’re trotting that way-off-the-blast thing without even blinking “My Spy” at least knows how to wink!)
Grillo’s character is a comically worn cliché (a Boston cop – and a loose cannon!), But he’s at least having a good time. Hell, they all seem to be having fun, but that doesn’t translate; It’s like looking through the window at a party that you weren’t invited to. Credit was appropriate: “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” is at least shorter than its predecessor (it’s just under 90 minutes before the credits, almost half an hour less than the endless original), and there’s a consistency of tone to that of “The Hitman’s Bodyguard “, A serious action film that got a” frantic “comic book rewrite a few months before production, which featured in the final product. So, to condemn it with the slightest praise,” Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard “is a slightly better film as “The Hitman’s Bodyguard.” But that’s like saying that stabbing in the stomach is a little better than stabbing the throat. [D+]
“Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” hits theaters on June 16.