(2021) (Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson) (R)
- QUICK TAKE:
- Action-Comedy: A disgraced bodyguard helps a woman rescue her hitman husband from a villain who's out to destroy most of Europe.
Having failed at protecting one of his clients in the past, Michael Bryce (RYAN REYNOLDS) is now a disgraced and unlicensed bodyguard who's been instructed by his therapist to take a sabbatical from killing anyone. But that's put to the test when Sonia Kincaid (SALMA HAYEK) shows up and demands that he help her rescue her newly kidnapped, hitman husband, Darius Kincaid (SAMUEL L. JACKSON) -- who was the reason Michael lost his license due to killing his client. She and Michael succeed at freeing Darius, but in doing so an informant working for Interpol agent Bobby O'Neill (FRANK GRILLO) is killed.
O'Neill was using that man to try to find and stop Aristotle Papadopoulos (ANTONIO BANDERAS) who's determined to return Greece as the leading country of Europe by using a device that will destroy most of the European power grid. With his informant now dead, O'Neill orders Michael, Darius, and Sonia to get him the information he needs, all of which puts them in danger, something all three are accustomed to dealing with.
- OUR TAKE: 4 out of 10
The goal of a bodyguard is to make the person they're protecting forget about any potential threats or danger by keeping them safe. Conversely, the goal of a hitman is to make their target forget...well...everything by...well...you know. And I guess the goal of a hitman's wife is to make him forget what he does for a living.
With that in mind, perhaps that's why I've forgotten almost everything about "The Hitman's Bodyguard." Sure, I remember that it stars Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, and Salma Hayek playing caricatures of their various stereotypical roles, but beyond that, I couldn't recall a thing about the flick -- or my opinion of it -- from back when it was released in 2017. So, mission accomplished?
In any event and now that I've refreshed my memory about the original release, we now have the sequel to the film -- which was a moderate box office success but critical failure -- in the somewhat awkward to pronounce and apostrophe friendly "The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard."
The aforementioned trio reprise their roles and, to no one's surprise -- since it's a sequel -- play their characters pretty much exactly as they did before. That is, except for Reynolds' Michael the bodyguard who, on his therapist's advice -- following his depression stemming from losing his accreditation -- has given up using deadly violence.
And thus, when Hayek's sultry wife character recruits him to rescue her perpetually perturbed but now kidnapped hitman husband (Jackson), Michael must use other means to stay alive and defeat the bad guys. But returning director Patrick Hughes and writer Tom O'Connor -- the latter now joined by fellow scribes Brandon Murphy and Phillip Murphy -- can only milk so much comedy and action from that premise.
Otherwise, it's just more of the same old, same old (which was already operating under that principle lifted from any number of similar previous films), this time with Antonio Banderas playing the villain who wants to zap the rest of Europe so that Greece can regain its original place atop the leaderboard.
And a surprise casting bit featuring a well-known actor playing Michael's seemingly unlikely father, which did elicit some laughs from me and others at our preview screening. As did other bits here and there, and if you enjoyed the odd couple comedy chemistry between Reynolds and Jackson the first time around in a guilty pleasure sort of way, you'll probably feel the same way here.
But that's not enough to carry a movie and after a while that style of loud, aggressive comedy as well as the recycled if still over-the-top action soon become repetitive. All of which means that as was the case with the original, it won't be long before I forget pretty much everything about this film, except wondering how many apostrophes will be in the title of the third installment (perhaps "The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard's Girlfriend's Hitman Dad"). The film rates as a 4 out of 10.
Reviewed June 8, 2021 / Posted June 16, 2021
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