THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD is directed by Patrick Hughes. It stars Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Salma Hayek, Frank Grillo, Richard E. Grant, Antonio Banderas, and Morgan Freeman. It’s the sequel to the 2017 film THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD.
Several years have passed since notorious criminal Darius Kincade crossed paths with bodyguard Michael Bryce. Bryce has been undergoing therapy following the various events he got mixed up in back then, but finds himself thrown back into the fray when Kincade’s foul-mouthed wife forcibly recruits him. The trio finds themselves captured by the government and tasked with stopping a plan involving viruses that can obliterate power grids. Will they save the day, or will they end up killing each other first?
I remember seeing THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD back in 2017 when it was released at advance screening, and while the film didn’t immediately hook me, the chemistry between two of the most entertaining actors in the world today, Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, served as a major highlight. Despite mixed critical reviews it was a success with audiences, so a sequel was inevitable. THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD is more of the same, but if you want an over-the-top violent good time with laughs and explosions in equal quantities, this sequel, which is superior to its processor, delivers and then some.
The biggest success of the film is its casting. Reynolds and Jackson make a great pair who absolutely hate each other but must begrudgingly accept one another when they share a common goal. But as good as the two of them are, Salma Hayek is the real star of the show, being an unrelenting loudmouth who borderlines on self-parody at times, but who fully takes advantage of the movie’s R rating in all the best of ways. The supporting parts from the likes of Frank Grillo and the always-entertaining Morgan Freeman don’t fail to please either. Casting and chemistry can make or break a movie, and love the film or hate it, you can’t argue with the results this ensemble achieves together. Sure, the writers dabble a little too heavily in profanity and the occasional cheap laugh, but it’s hard to argue with results.
The movie is one that doesn’t require much in the way of higher thinking. Curse words are a dime a dozen (you expected less with Samuel L. Jackson on board?) Explosions and gunshots are plentiful. The level of R-rated violence is through the roof. It’s the barest minimum of a plot, which serves as nothing more than a series of simple events for these characters to interact, get their rocks off, shoot, drive, cause explosions, and everything in between. At times it basically becomes a live-action cartoon, with Ryan Reynolds regularly getting up and walking around after stuff that would easily have killed a lesser man (the screenwriters clearly didn’t get the memo he wasn’t playing Deadpool here!) But if you want to turn off your brain and enjoy a loud, violent, profanity-laden popcorn movie, this is the one for you. But leave the kids at home.
That said, the film does have some issues. I wish they’d done more with the plot; it’s a generic by-the-numbers affair that does nothing to innovate. Antonio Banderas is charismatic and entertaining in his scenes as an evil mastermind, but he doesn’t get enough screen time or come off as the true menace he could’ve been. Likewise, the always-entertaining Richard E. Grant is relegated to a single-scene cameo, which feels like a wasted opportunity. I doubt these flaws will keep the movie from being loved by its target audience though.
THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD delivers what it promises; nothing more and nothing less. Violence, profanity, explosions, and laugh-out-loud chemistry between its leads are here in full force. Jackson and Reynolds are a comedic tour-de-force when they unite here, perhaps only exceeded by Hayek, who has a blast with her role. Do you love big, dumb, violent popcorn flicks that never back down and make no apologies for what they are? You’ve officially found your movie.
Rating: Three stars out of four.