Back in 2017, Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, and Salma Hayek starred in a film that was ridiculous, vulgar, and violent. Yes, it was a blast to watch. Now the trio returns with the addition of Antonio Banderas and Morgan Freeman. While the sequel doesn’t live up to the original (very few actually do), this is still a pretty good time at the cinemas. Let’s take a closer look at our review of The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard.
The original film was over the top in every way. It was similar in style to the latter half of the Fast and Furious film series, but with the additional vulgarity and on-screen badassery of Jackson and Reynolds. The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard attempts to capture that same magic, but without adding anything noteworthy to the plot to mix things up. The sequel just ends up being more of the same, with a bit less punch. That doesn’t make for a bad film, as it’s still fairly entertaining, but it feels as though the creative team behind the movie really didn’t try to go above and beyond, settling for mediocre.
If you’ve never seen the first film, you don’t really need to know the backstory to follow the sequel. In fact, there are some odd plot character changes from the first film that make much sense if you think about them too hard. Michael Bryce (Reynolds) is an AAA-rated bodyguard that has lost his license. Sonia Kincaid (Hayek), a con artist, tasks Bryce with helping to save her husband, Darius Kincaid (Jackson), a world-renowned assassin. Mix this in with the fact that the con artist and the assassin are trying to have a baby, the bodyguard has lost his mojo, and Europe is on the verge of complete collapse, and you essentially have the plot of The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard.
The writing in the first film was sharp and witty, if not totally original. Michael Bryce and Darius Kincaid snapped back and forth at one another, and it was a joy to watch. Some of that edge is gone in the sequel, as many of the jokes fall flat. There are enough hits to make it enjoyable, but Tom O’Connor and his writing team didn’t make any real attempts to kick the jokes up a notch from the original film. If it weren’t for Sam Jackson and Ryan Reynolds, this film wouldn’t be anywhere near as entertaining.
Frank Grillo joins the sequel as Interpol agent, Bobby O’Neill. He was recently transferred from Boston to Europe and eagerly wants to return (really?), but Grillo plays the role as straightforward and generic as humanly possible. If you read a book on the stereotypical way to play a disgruntled agent, you would see this character listed. Grillo is dull and uninspired in his performance and is outshined in every scene he’s featured in. Luckily, he only pops up now and then, as the movie focuses primarily on the main trio of characters.
Antonio Banderas doesn’t do much better as a powerful resident of Greece, Aristotle Papadopolous. Yes, you read that correctly… a Spanish actor is playing a Greek citizen, complete with his traditional Spanish accent. It’s this oddity and Banderas’ complete commitment to the role that makes this character work where Grillo’s attempt failed. Banderas plays the character with such conviction and seriousness that the audience just has to go along with it.
The plot of The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard feels a bit dated, mimicking plots of early 90s action films. Things are updated slightly for modern times, but overall the plot is not the draw of this film. The only reason to watch this film in theaters is to experience Ryan Reynolds, Sam Jackson and Salma Hayek attack each other (verbally and physically) for just over 90 minutes. That’s it. That’s the draw. It mostly works, but there are plenty of times where it doesn’t. It’s not as good as the original film, but it’s decent enough. The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard won’t blow you away, but it’s not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon at the movies.
About THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD
Synopsis: The bodyguard Michael Bryce continues his friendship with assassin Darius Kincaid as they try to save Darius’s wife Sonia.
Director: Patrick Hughes
Writers: Tom O’Connor, Brandon Murphy, Phillip Murphy
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Salma Hayek, Morgan Freeman, Antonio Banderas
Runtime: 1 Hour, 39 Minutes
Bryan Dawson has been writing professionally since the age of 13. He started his career as a video game writer and has since worked for Random House, Prima Games, DirecTV, IGN, AOL, the British Government, and various other organizations. For GNN, Bryan taps into his passion for movies.