Hitman’s Wife Bodyguard is the follow-up to the surprise hit The Hitman’s Bodyguard. A film that succeeded due to the chemistry between Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson. The sequel looks to replicate that magic whilst increasing Salma Hayek’s screentime.
The problem is that with the main focus being the leads sparking off each other, the three screenwriters (yes, you read that correctly, three) forgot to write a compelling plot around them.
Suffering from PTSD over his encounter with hitman Darius Kincaid and the loss of his Triple A bodyguard licence, Michael Bryce is put on a sabbatical by his therapist. He barely gets to sit down on his Italian sun lounger before the titular hitman’s wife shows up and drags him off into another chaotic adventure. One that involves a Greek megalomaniac (Spanish actor Antonio Banderas sounding exactly like Spanish actor Antonio Banderas) seeking to destroy the EU’s digital economic infrastructure. Cue a series of action set pieces that slickly shot but unimaginative in design as the cast are more concerned with dropping f-bombs than bullets.
Individually, the cast are among the cream of the crop when it comes to delivering an expletive-laden tirade. Samuel L. Jackson has made a career out of his use of the word “motherf**ker”. Reynolds the world’s most famous R-Rated superhero and also responsible for one of the finest on-screen insults of all-time. Hayek is game to join in. Apparently trying to beat Joe Pesci in Goodfellas for most swear words per minute of screentime. Even if the majority of them are referring to the dimensions of her “p*ssy”.
The problem is that the actors and screenwriters are under the false impression that screaming obscenities at each other is a substitute for actual jokes. There are many examples where a well-delivered f-bomb or an actor like Peter Capaldi in In The Loop can turn swear words into Shakespeare. Unfortunately the sheer volume of them (both in number and noise) means that the “joke” wears very thin, very fast.
The whole affair reminds one of the time Pierce Brosnan was asked why he did Mamma Mia and the answer he gave essentially amounted to “got to work with Meryl Streep and spent a summer in Greece”. The film feels like the cast had a great time shooting it. Plus having a vehicle to promote their own brand of Aviation Gin. Sadly none of that fun translates to the big screen. Even a Desperado reunion fails to deliver on its potential.
Sadly this triple A-List acting trio is not enough to save Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard. This is one target that should have been taken out with a headshot before it got greenlit.
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is in cinemas from June 14th.
Director: Patrick Hughes
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Salma Hayek,
Runtime: 97 minutes