Let’s talk about The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard.
A few years ago, The Hitman’s Bodyguard came out. I liked it. It felt a bit old fashioned but in a fun, nostalgic way. It was a mid-tier action film which hinged its success on the charisma and star power of its two leads. Because those leads were Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, it paid off and the film became a moderate success. But while most people enjoyed the film for what it was, no one was calling for any more. After all, it filled some time, gave us a few laughs but it wasn’t so good that we needed to spend more time in its world. However we have the sequel whether we like it or not. The question is if it’s worth seeing.
Michael Bryce is in therapy after the events of the last film. On advice of his therapist, he goes on sabbatical. His break doesn’t last long though as Sonia Kincaid drags him back into action to help save her husband Darius who has been kidnapped by the mafia. They all then get dragged into a scheme by a Greek meglomaniac who aims to destroy Europe and make Greece the world’s biggest superpower once again.
We’ve seen a lot of these types of movies where it’s all focused on two big charismatic leads. Rush Hour and the like is what I’m thinking of here. The problem is that when it comes to a sequel, there isn’t much more to do. After all, we’ve had the two leads bicker throughout then come to some understanding in the first film, there’s not much more they can do but do the same story again. And because these movies were never based too much on the plot, the sequel always struggled because of that. And if they made another sequel after that, oh boy did things start to suck.
The way this film tries to avoid seeing the same bickering and fighting from the first film is to add a third character into the mix. So we get Darius Kincaid’s wife, Sonia, into mix. Played by Salma Hayek, and seen briefly at the end of the first film, she has an unenviable job. Reynolds and Jackson are massive personalities and it would be very easy for Salma to be dwarfed by them which would basically make her pointless. They counteract that potential problem by making her absolutely batshit crazy. She is the livewire, the one you can never quite predict. And with Hayek going as manic as possible to play her, the character ends up being pretty fun. It works as a way to vary the relationship and add something new to it, which is this weird family dynamic. Yep, they try to make this trio into a little messed up family. It is not as funny as the first one though, which is a shame.
All this means you get a fairly fun ride. It is much as the same as the first one except instead of relying on two big personalities, you rely on three big personalities. You get a lot of quick witty dialogue, some exposition chucked in there so you know what happens and then you get to an action scene. And the action is perfectly fine. Nothing to write home about but it works. After Fast and Furious 9, I’m glad for action you can see clearly and it is one of those films that takes it’s inspiration from John Wick rather than Jason Bourne. Obviously not as good, but bloody hell I’m glad some films have moved from from shakycam. Yes I’m still mad about Fast and Furious 9.
Where the film starts to struggle is in its plot. Not in terms of the story, it is basic and predictable but that’s what you expect as I’ve explained. More in it’s pacing. The film has no finesse in how it moves on with the plot and it just jumps from location to location with very little explanation as to why we’ve gone there. It just steams on until the next set piece, whether that be some verbal jousting or some shooting. I think the film was rushed, which is weird as with everything that has happened you feel more time could have been taken to get things right, and perhaps some scenes were cut for time which has caused that affect.
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is the definition of a film that is fine. It has fine comedy and fine action. It will make you laugh a few times and you’ll never be bored. But it never does anything original and the pacing is off and it stops the film from gelling. If you want to see talented actors having fun and take you for a decent ride, you’ll enjoy this. If you want a bit more than that, you’ll be bored. As I say, it’s perfectly fine. And that’s ok.