In 2017, Lionsgate released The Hitman’s Bodyguard. It featured Ryan Reynolds as a triple-A rated protection agent named Michael Bryce who has his reputation destroyed after a Japanese client of his dies under his protection. Now reduced to a bodyguard for hire, he accepts an offer from Interpol to escort an international assassin, Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson), from Manchester to the Hague. The mismatched duo were forced to put aside their grudges against one another with hilarious and action-packed results.
Three years and a global pandemic later, the duo return to theaters with The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard. With theaters reopening nationwide and audiences ready for summer blockbusters, should you go out and spend the $11-20 on a movie ticket for The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard or should you stay at home and watch Scrubs for the 16th time this year?
Unfortunately, the best part of the film is the cast. Reynolds, Jackson, and Hayek work well as a comedic trio, and it’s clear the three are having fun here. The trio is very clearly typecast, but it works here since the humor is turned up to eleven. This franchise, if you can even call it that, has no interest in being the next Kingsman or Mission: Impossible. Instead, it just wants to have fun with the international spy/hitman subgenre and provide audiences a fun time with three of Hollywood’s most beloved stars. All three commit to the comedy, leaning one hundred percent with lines like “Oh, we are definitely going to fuck this up.” being some of the best lines in the film. This, mixed with the cast’s experience with action films like Deadpool, The Avengers, Desperado (among dozens of other great films among the trio), always leaves you satisfied.
“Oh, we are definitely going to fuck this up.”Michael Bryce (played by Ryan Reynolds)
Reynolds is at the top of his game here. Yes, he relies very much on his “fish out of the water” cliché, but he also plays with a much more dramatic lean here. He’s got problems to work out, and Reynolds surprised me with how much dramatic heft he was able to provide when the situation called for it. Jackson, this generation’s Denzel Washington (or at least, mine), weaves a tapestry of “mothafucka” and other curses that makes any moment with him entertaining, even if he’s relatively sidelined compared to the previous film. However, it would seem that Hayek is given the most focus of the cast, as she had a relatively low amount of screen time in the previous film. She’s easily the highlight of the film, with her no-nonsense attitude and kicking ass every time she’s on-screen. She also gets an on-screen reunion with Antonio Banderas that’s just great. The two have insane chemistry that is immediately apparent anytime the two share scenes together. Banderas, on his own, however, is the lowlight of the film, trying to convince the audience that he’s Greek with an off-putting accent that I can’t place, and he feels out of place when he’s not on-screen with Hayek. There’s also Frank Grillo, who unfortunately gets sidelined even though he’s probably one of the biggest action stars in modern years. And without spoiling his role in the film (as I don’t think it’s stated in the trailers who he is), Morgan Freeman’s scenes are great. I won’t (and can’t) tell you why as it’s plot-related, but he gets a scene in the middle of the film that had my entire theater laughing their heads off.
“If you don’t help me, I will fuck you with a strap on.”Sonia Kincaid (played by Salma Hayek)
Directed yet again by Patrick Hughes, I think the film actually suffers from his direction. Primarily a director of action films, I don’t think he was ready to make the switch to a comedic tone. Sure, there were bits of The Hitman’s Bodyguard that were humorous, but it was an action film at its heart. This film, however, is primarily a comedy (think 90s action movie, and you’re on the right track), not an action film, so I think that the series might need a new director at the helm for whatever the third film will be called. Hughes just doesn’t know how to balance the action scenes with the comedic scenes.
The screenplay by Tom O’Connor, Brandon Murphy, and Phillip Murphy isn’t to blame for this as many would suspect. In fact, the writing here is even sharper than the first film, with comedic bits better than anything I’ve seen in an action-comedy film in a long time. The minor gripe I have is that I suspect the action plot of the film that’s present doesn’t feel substantial to what’s going on. The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is focused on comedy, not the action. Although, you got to hand it to the screenwriters for what I suspect is a jab at the finale of Tenet. That was pretty hilarious.
The cinematography by Terry Stacey looks like every other action film you’ve seen in the past ten years. The conversations are shot with primarily static shots, but it’s when we get to the action in which the problems start to appear. There’s no sense of who is doing what to whom, who’s winning, where they are in the scene since these scenes are shakily shot. It’s a shame because the stuntwork by Mickey Facchinello, Martin Ivanov, and other members of the stunt team seems like they worked really hard on making sure the action felt like something you would see in a James Bond or Kingsman film.
If you are making a trip out to your local theater, I think The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard might be something you might enjoy, especially if you already enjoy these actors or any of the films they were in. Just be sure to turn your brain off the moment you sit down. Otherwise, you are going to have a bad time.
Available in theaters nationwide on June 16.
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