“The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” – Salma Hayek, Ryan Reynolds, and Samuel L. Jackson are three of the biggest movie stars working today, and hey, all three are big-screen comic book characters, to boot. Don’t forget that Jackson played a Jedi too.
So, after assessing their remarkable acting resumes, let’s all recite this together: “We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!”
Well, in 2017, this superhero triad starred in the sophomoric action-comedy “The Hitman’s Bodyguard”, and when a film rakes in 176 million dollars worldwide on a budget of “only” 30 big ones, knocks for sequel requests become as loud and as appealing as Jules Winnfield’s Ezekiel 25:17 recitation.
So, here we are, and if you missed the first picture, Michael Bryce (Reynolds) is a bodyguard, Darius Kincaid (Jackson) is a hitman, and Sonia Kincaid (Hayek) is his wife. Bryce and Kincaid were on opposite sides of the protector-assassinator coin but became allies and saved the day.
In director Patrick Hughes’ follow-up flick, Bryce struggles – but makes a concerted effort – with therapy, and actually, his therapist (Rebecca Front) finds it difficult to cope with Michael as her patient. Before you can say, “Our time is up today,” she convinces him to forget his guns and the bloodshed. In other words, find a different career, but first, take a vacation in Italy.
Bryce shelves G&B (guns and bloodshed) from his mind and discovers R&R at an Italian resort, when out of the blue, Sonia appears – among the big umbrellas and pina coladas – and whisks him away. You see, a group of baddies kidnap Darius, and Sonia recruits Michael by dragging him from paradise to help rescue her husband.
That’s fine. It isn’t, but that’s just the beginning of the story, as a Greek kingpin named Aristotle Papadopolous (Antonio Banderas) seeks revenge on the European Union for suggesting a sanction on his home country. He’s out for blood and also taking down the continent’s power grid, or Internet grid, or something by using a giant diamond-fitted contraption.
Isn’t Greece part of Europe? Just asking.
Perhaps, Aristotle explained the Greece workaround, and I missed it, but then again, “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
Hey, get it done, or to quote Toby Keith, he’s using “a little less talk and a lot more action.”
Meanwhile, Interpol agent Bobby O’Neill (Frank Grillo) needs to take action, pronto, so he recruits the Kincaids and Bryce to stop Mr. Papadopolous’ nefarious plans, because sure, why not? MI6 or no other Interpol agents are available or capable, but the Kincaids – who always act like they just guzzled triple espressos and a gallon of Jolt Cola – have short tempers and long trigger fingers, and Darius “is unkillable”, so there’s that.
Darius and Sonia seem to fire more bullets than John Wick after losing his dog and cause more accidents than The Blues Brothers (if they were) driving on cough syrup. The gunplay and car chase quotients run through the roof, but sadly, more is less. Way less, and despite danger raising its ugly, fearsome head during 80 percent of the on-screen happenings, “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” doesn’t carry one moment of audience anxiety or trepidation, including a helicopter hunting down our said heroes along a winding freeway in a scene that felt as straight and flat as the I-10 between Phoenix and Los Angeles.
Morgan Freeman’s small role does have a twist, but then again, none of it matters. At its core, “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” is simply a device to pit the hard-hitting Kincaids against Bryce and his desperate, futile attempt towards pacifism for comedic effect.
Admittedly, I chuckled a couple of times, but the natural chemistry between the three leads doesn’t make up for a paper-thin plot, the nonsensical turns, and constant kinetic beats with zero heart. But, hey, at least the cast and crew secured a trip to Europe, and they seemed to have a lot more fun than I had.
Take Hayek (who delivers the picture’s most entertaining performance), Jackson, and Reynolds out of this film and replace them with three unknown actors, and “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” is my worst movie of the year…so far. Still, not even these superheroes – plus Freeman and Banderas – can save it.
⭐ 1/2 out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Images and Trailer credits: Lionsgate Movies