“The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard,” the odd couple buddy flick starring Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson and now playing in theatres, is a story about finding your logical, not biological family, disguised as violent shoot ‘em up comedy.
As the movie begins Michael Bryce (Reynolds) is “like a belly dancer without a torso.” He’s lost his bodyguard license and is in therapy. Tormented by bad dreams, he’s fixated on a customer who was killed by hitman Darius Kincaid (Jackson) while on his watch. On sabbatical in Capri (“like the pants”) Italy, he imagines a world without bodyguards or guns.
But his newfound inner peace doesn’t last long. Just as he is shaking off his old life he is drawn back into the game, hunted down by Sonia Kincaid (Salma Hayek), who uses fire power and moxy to lure him out of semi-retirement to rescue her husband, Darius. That’s right, the guy who has been haunting Michael’s dreams.
As the bodies pile up in the wake of their rescue attempt, it turns out Darius actually said, “Get me anyone BUT Michael Bryce!” Nonetheless, this mismatched trio work together to prevent a madman (Antonio Banderas) from destroying Europe and throwing the world into chaos.
“The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” is a sequel to the equally noisy 2017 film “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” but despite the appealing leads and the addition of Hayek, Banderas and Morgan Freeman, doesn’t have the same silly charm. The first movie was an over-the-top mish mash of exotic locations, violence, jokes and romance. The sequel contains all those elements, but is somehow less than the sum of its parts.
Given the talent involved, this should be more fun.
Reynolds works his way with a line like a master tradesman, recalling the kind of goofy smart aleck characters he played early in his career. Jackson makes use of his expertise with swearwords and is only upstaged by Hayek, whose entertaining use of salty language would make a sailor blush. But, take away those sweary flourishes, and you’re left with is a few quick laughs, casual video game violence, a body count that rivals the “Lord of the Rings” franchise and an unconvincing attempt at sentimentality.
Between the gun battles is a thinly sketched subplot about finding family wherever you can, but it is played for laughs and gets lost in the ballet of bullets and explosions.
“The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” is pure escapism, a loud, brash movie that mixes well with popcorn, but leaves a funny aftertaste in your mouth.