Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is pretty confident you either didn’t watch or don’t remember the first movie, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, because it does some heavy recapping at the beginning.
And there’s a very good chance you don’t remember the 2017 Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson action caper because it was, at best, forgettable.
If only Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard had aimed for forgettable, because it can’t even claim that. Instead, it never manages to get past execrable, unable to choose between being an unimaginative and vulgar action-comedy or a limp National Lampoon-esque parody.
Not even the combined talents of Reynolds, Jackson and the irrepressible Salma Hayek can save this lousy waste of time.
It’s offensive enough that Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard has a title with two consecutive apostrophes – the absolute worst – or that it spends the entire movie referring to its three eponymous characters as the hitman, the bodyguard and the conwoman, not the wife.
The clunky naming is just the gluggy icing on this floppy, uncooked cake.
After the shenanigans of the first movie, by-the-book bodyguard Michael Bryce, lover of seatbelts, has vowed to give up his profession. It’s a combination of his therapist’s recommendation and the fact that he’s lost his bodyguarding licence, pending review.
Then Sonia Kincaid (Hayek) bursts into Bryce’s life, shattering his Capri holiday in a barrage of gunfire and profanities. She tells him Darius (Jackson) has been kidnapped by the mafia and Bryce needs to save him.
Elsewhere, nefarious villain Aristotle Papadopoulos (Antonio Banderas) is threatening to take down the entire European Union in retaliation for economic sanctions against Greece.
We know he’s a villain because he speaks very slowly and deliberately, wears a fuchsia damask dinner jacket and lays out his dastardly plans in detail, something involving crippling the bloc’s infrastructure through data junctions. Woo, exposition!
Trying to stop him is Boston-born Interpol agent Bobby O’Neill (Frank Grillo) who lacks both Sam Adams beer and an ear for Scottish accents. Naturally, O’Neill’s unconventional policing puts him in the sphere of our hitman, bodyguard and conwoman.
And somewhere in there, Richard E. Grant pops in but don’t get too excited at seeing his name in the opening credits because it’s a cameo at best.
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Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard relies heavily on a cheap sense of humour that went out of vogue in 2003 along with laugh tracks. Apparently, being edgy means making vagina and boob jokes. Even from the fabulous Hayek, it doesn’t so much hit as cringe.
When it is funny it’s because Reynolds plays up his cheeky schtick – which works, but not if you’re the type who usually finds that whole thing tiresome.
But the movie’s biggest fault is not that it’s juvenile and predictable. It’s that for an action movie, the action is uninventive and lazy. The choreography is uninspired while the directing and editing is stale. The punches don’t look they hit and the bullets are flying off in every direction.
There’s no energy to it. At least The Hitman’s Bodyguard had that chaotic canal chase.
Sonia frequently charges into rooms guns ablazing and with no plan – it feels like that’s how they haphazardly made Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard.
Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is in cinemas now
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Originally published as New movie is execrable waste of time