The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017) was an over-the-top action comedy. Now comes more of the same in Patrick Hughes’ standalone follow-up, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard.
The film opens with Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) accepting the Bodyguard of the Year Award, except … actually, he hasn’t won the prestigious gong. He only dreams of winning it, until we find out that he has been stripped of his bodyguard license and is on a psychologist’s couch trying to work out where everything went wrong. She tells him that he has to move beyond offering executive protection and guns and violence, and instructs him to take a chill pill in the sunny climes of Italy, which he does. Problem is that trouble finds him.
That comes in the form of Sonia Kincaid (Salma Hayek), the foul-mouthed wife of hitman Darius Boyd (Samuel L. Jackson). She’s in the midst of a fierce gun battle when she tracks down Bryce, after she mistakenly believed her husband had called for his assistance. Soon they’re all caught up in a plot to save Europe from a large scale cyber-attack being orchestrated by a powerful madman (Antonio Banderas). He’s angry over the European Union imposing economic sanctions on his homeland, Greece.
A sub-plot involves Sonia on honeymoon with her husband desperately wanting to conceive a baby with him, which simply isn’t happening. Another concerns a reconciliation between Bryce and his legendary bodyguard stepfather (Morgan Freeman).
While The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard moves along at pace, I found it quite difficult to follow. The screenplay by Tom O’Connor, Brandon Murphy and Phillip Murphy is all over the shop, switching back and forth between events and situations confusingly. The dialogue is stilted and the continued attempts at humour regularly fall flat. I thought the film tried far too hard when there simply wasn’t enough substance. It felt forced and a shocking waste of strong acting talent.
While the first instalment just passed muster, this one was an abject failure for me. Sure, you can comfortably watch it without having seen the original, but why would you bother. The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard may be big on action, but gunfights and car chases alone do not a good movie make.
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Alex First is a Melbourne based journalist and communications specialist. He contributes to The Blurb on film and theatre.