When the first Hitman Bodyguard movie, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, was released in 2017, Ryan Reynolds had just come off a successful year with Deadpool (2016) and Samuel L. Jackson was at the peak of his power as the “motherfucker” slinging A-list Avenger, Nick Fury. A mashup of both actors in an action-comedy buddy duo, led by Reynolds’ Deadpool charm and Nick Fury’s cynicism, was bound to work out. But four years later, a sequel to the 2017 movie has arrived at the theatres to plague us with some of the things that made the first entry work and an assemblage of chaos. Tethered to the lead duo are actors who must have suffered the same struggle of completing the film as the viewer.
There is a litany of villains who are led by Antonio Banderas. He opens as a stereotypical villain with one of the most counterproductive excuses to rid the world of its balance. Morgan Freeman stars in a cameo as the villain added as a predictable twist to rejig life into the story. Then there is Frank Grillo, the Interpol agent, who is a bad guy but for the sake of the general good. And there is another expendable villain embedded in the opening quarter of the film, merely put in place to unite the Hitman, his wife, and his bodyguard. Add a dollop of sub-villains and sub-good-but-bad guys to arrive at a two-hour drool-fest.
Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is a horribly titled movie—a comedy staple—suffering from all noise and no memorable action. Ryan Reynolds’ act as the charming wisecrack arrives limpid and Samuel Jackson cusses so many times it loses its effect. The only novelty is Salma Hayek, who feels, here, as a cross between her role in Everly (2014) and Desperado (1995) and a sprinkle of originality as Samuel L. Jackson’s Spanish motherfucker-wielding wife. Sandwiched between the trio are a series of clichéd jokes and just enough chemistry to depress Marie Curie. They bundle through the movie from one plot point to another with the baggage of Reynold’s search for serendipity as a bodyguard and Salma Hayek’s obsession with starting a family. At the end of the movie, after an overfamiliar boss-fight scene, neither party particularly gets what they want.
Close to its end, one begins to wonder how a movie that sells itself as a fun ride could be so difficult to finish. At this point, the plot tropes are already exhaustive; none of Ryan Reynolds’ comedic improvisations hit the right spot, they feel out of place and non-complemental; Samuel L. Jackson makes cringeworthy jokes; Antonio Banderas’ megalomaniac monologues are predictable; and Morgan Freeman’s introduction, which could have added some suave to a couple of scenes, are wasted.
The onus of saving this film is put on Salma Hayek’s lithe frame. She does what she can, but as expected, it isn’t enough. She is a hybrid of badass Samuel L. Jackson (Darius Kincaid) and the deadpan wisecrack, Ryan Reynolds (Michael Bryce), with a hothead tendency for violence. To make this movie better, one would have to dismantle it, do away with more than half of it, then reassemble it as an entirely different movie. If you will watch it for anything, let it be to see how old Antonio Banderas has gotten. But you could see that on his Wikipedia page.
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Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is currently in theatres.