'The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard' Movie Review: Skip the Ryan Reynolds/Salma Hayek/Samuel L. Jackson Show
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is not a good sequel to The Hitman’s Bodyguard. However, it is so relentlessly absurd, it’s certainly not boring. The movie sort of beats you into submission, but anything that holds your interest is in more of a WTF way. Ryan Reynolds, Salma Hayek and Samuel L. Jackson are like kids making faces until you can’t resist, only it’s R-rated profanity and violence. At a certain point, you just have to go with it, but you’d never intentionally subject yourself to that.
Who is the bodyguard in ‘The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard’?
The plot, as it were, begins when Michael Bryce (Reynolds) is in therapy having nightmares about the one client he failed to protect (from the first movie). Bryce actually goes on sabbatical with a plan to give up guns an violence, when Sonia Kincaid (Hayek) rescues him in a shootout to which he’s previously oblivious. Sonia’s husband Darius (Jackson) has been kidnapped and asked her to get Bryce to help free him.
Once the trio unites, they start bickering again. They killed Interpol’s only lead on a terrorist so they have to go undercover to complete the deal for Interpol. It doesn’t matter. They have a lot of car chases, fights and shootouts while fighting amongst themselves. So, technically Bryce is the bodyguard because Darius is still the hitman and Sonia is his wife, but she’s also a hitman and the Kincaid’s end up protecting Bryce more than vice versa.
‘The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard’ threw the characters out the window
If you happened to like Bryce and Darius, let alone Sonia in her smaller role in The Hitman’s Bodyguard, you’re out of luck. The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard decided they weren’t important. From the beginning, Bryce’s sabbatical is a trite betrayal of the character. He was a competent bodyguard for all his wisecracks and relationship troubles. Now he’s a buffoon trapped on a mission.
Everyone is doing a bit instead of playing a character. Reynolds thought, “What if my character was a bodyguard who wanted to give up violence?” That’s an improv exercise at Upright Citizens Brigade. It’s not Michael Bryce.
Beating you into submission
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard has exciting car chases on international roads. Unfortunately, there’s a lot more CGI than there would have been in the ‘80s. In the ‘80s and even ‘90s, they would have really blown up a real bridge, but at least they’re in real locations and not on a green screen. It would be nice if the action were less shaky and not cut to pieces .
When The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard mocks action cliches, it’s not satire. It actually feels like contempt. Oh, you like exciting badass movies? Screw you, here’s how stupid they are. It doesn’t help that all the actors are riffing, indulging in spite. Hudson Hawk and Last Action Hero were ridiculed for not taking themselves seriously, but at least both felt like they were celebrating the genre.
Still, there is a certain morbig joy to seeing this much money spent on complete absurdity. Each character is given new traumatic backstories, one of which commits to Final Destination level of absurdity. The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard treats Bryce like Wile E. Coyote, or to find a live-action counterpart, like Nordberg from The Naked Gun. That wasn’t the tone of The Hitman’s Bodyguard.
Movies should make less sense. They’re not reality and when they try to make sense it inhibits creativity. The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard really tests that theory. It doesn’t have to make sense, but it should break the rules to create something better than the norm. We have perfectly good action comedies, thank you very much. If you’re going to try to attack that genre, you’d better have something as groundbreaking as Hudson Hawk or Last Action Hero up your sleeve.
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