It’s rare that I find myself giving a film less than two stars. Even in a bad movie I always find at least one or two things within the movie to be redeemable. Back in March, I slapped “Godzilla vs Kong” with a one star out of five. I gave that same rating only a few weeks ago to “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It”. It’s safe to say that I hated both movies and honestly I didn’t think I’d find a competitor to “Godzilla vs Kong” and “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It” so soon. Or would I hate a movie more this year than I did, with the ultimate time waster of a sequel “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard”.
Based on the films trailers, “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” looked bigger and a lot more fun than it’s 2017 predecessor “Hitman’s Bodyguard”. But honestly I was looking forward to seeing the return of Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L Jackson and Salma Hayek because I was a fan of the first one. Unfortunately I felt none of the excitement or fun from the films trailers and instead I only felt pain, agony and a stinging migraine. The only excitement I felt was the rush I got when I headed for the exit and granted yes it’s bigger in terms of it’s action, but it’s also louder, obnoxious, more crass and lots of shouting. So much shouting.
I hated “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” so much that I sat through an hour of it’s runtime and walked out before the last forty minutes. I have no idea what happened in it’s closing forty minutes and nor do I care to find out. I personally cannot remember the last time that the devoted movie lover that I am and someone who will sit through any movie, can remember the last time that I had walked out of a movie. Let alone I never would have ever thought that I would have ever walked out of a movie with Ryan Reynolds, Sam Jackson, Salma Hayek and Antonio Banderas starring in it. But yes. You read that right, A-Ron the cinema scholar has walked out of a movie!
“Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” is directed by “The Expendables 3” (the best of the trilogy) director Patrick Hughes, who also helmed the first “Hitman’s Bodyguard”. Hughes gives “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” what many unnecessary sequels do…by rehashing the original endeavor to just maximize profits. There’s no bold or creative leap in “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard”. It’s just a lot of noise from Hughes, who set out to make an even more obnoxious movie with a bigger budget, keeping the talent screaming and the action set pieces chaotic.
It’s not like it matters, but here’s the gist of the set-up to “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard”. Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) is lost and left without his bodyguard license after his last misadventure with Darius Kinkade (Samuel L. Jackson), turning to therapy for help in making sense of his life. Trying to relax while on vacation, Michael’s peace is shattered by the arrival of Sonia (Salma Hayek), Darius’s abrasive wife, who needs the man with special skills to help rescue her husband, who’s been kidnapped.
Traveling with Sonia, Michael recognizes how much he doesn’t like her, but he goes along with the plan, hoping to stay away from violence with his new pacifist worldview. Reunited with Darius and dealing with Sonia, Michael is sent to Italy to help Interpol agent Bobby (Frank Grillo) figure out the source of a new terrorist threat, with Aristotle (Antonio Banderas) a Greek madman looking to harm the world when they threaten his beloved country with crippling economic sanctions, leading him to the procurement of a devastating EMP bomb. Or at least that’s what I got out of it before I gave up on the movie.
Within the first hour Hughes resorts to non stop yelling matches and everyone shouting at the top of their voices. That’s especially the technique that was used to encourage Salma Hayek to go even bigger than the first film as Sonia. She offers a performance which literally has her at one point screaming into the camera. Although I’m not going to sit here and not admit that Salma didn’t look mighty fine at 54, but I’ve also never been more turned off by a performance from her as she delivers unbearable work.
In the nearly 194 acting credits in Samuel L. Jackson’s career. No matter the movie I’ve never ever been disappointed in a Sam Jackson performance and never not once has he gave a phoned in performance. Well that streak stops here as Jackson sleeps his way through most of his performance and only periodically waking up to say his trademark phase “Mother F*****” and to fondle Hayek. Then there is the always charming and lovable Ryan Reynolds who has become so accustomed to this type of character that he can do this part in his sleep. This time around he manages to keep a lower profile as he refuses to use guns or commit any type of violence. But I will give credit to Reynolds who does the best work in the movie and gives the best effort as his character’s arc is the most defined.
From the trailer there was especially one thing about “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” that I was really excited for. The addition of Antonio Banderas as the films big baddie, because I’m surely one of the biggest Antonio Banderas fans around. Instead of satisfying a fan like me, writer Tom O’ Connor instead decides to make Banderas a backseat villain who pops in as little as possible. From what I witnessed in the first hour alone he’s in two scenes at best, which didn’t leave me with much of an impression and all I could take away from his brief scenes is that he is ultimately an ineffective villain that comes off more as a James Bond baddie and not one of the good ones.
I’ll give it up to Hughes for his skill at choreographing the films frenetic action scenes, but Hughes cranks the sound design up to eleven with so much bang, bang, boom. It feels as if you had your head stuck in a bucket and someone is just constantly pounding the crap out of it. It doesn’t end there as the editing by Michael J. Dither and Jack Hutchings is atrocious, messy and splices scenes together giving it no real flow. The first film was funny, this one isn’t. For an action comedy it doesn’t have one legitimate laugh. Screenwriters Tom O’ Connor, Brandon and Phillip Murphy resort to amateur jokes such as in one scene, when Ryan Reynolds’ therapist suggests he take a vacation to Capri and to which he replies “Like the pants?”. It then cuts to Reynolds in Capri with an on screen title that reads: Capri (Like the pants). Enter the eye rolling.
“Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” is pretty much a rehash of the first movie, only much dumber, louder, more obnoxious and more senseless. “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” is a huge misfire and tanks in any excitement at what could have been an entertaining B-grade side franchise for Reynolds, Jackson and Hayek. The original is great and this could have been a fun action comedy to kick off the summer.
Even after nine installments of “The Fast & The Furious” movies, at least those movies are still fun and entertaining, as ridiculous as it maybe. Here we have “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” that is only two movies in and it’s already run out of steam. If they decide to call the next one “Hitman’s Wife’s Baby’s Brother’s Uncle’s Sister’s Bodyguard” or whatever it maybe, any plans for future adventures with these three should be scrapped. Unfortunately director Patrick Hughes already has plans to torture us with another.
“Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” joins “Godzilla vs Kong” and “The Conjuring 3” in the one star league and that’s only because of Ryan Reynolds, who is the only tolerable part of the movie. Plus how can you not like the guy? He is utterly impossible to dislike. But I knew I should have listened to my instincts and just have watched “In The Heights” for the fifth time. At least i would have had a great time and it wouldn’t have wasted any of it. As for “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” let me use the words of the great Roger Ebert: “I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie”.
GRADE: ★☆☆☆☆ (1 out of 5) – Everyone who worked on this movie can thank Ryan Reynolds for saving “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard”, from suffering a zero star fate.