The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard Review: A sequel’s falts made up through consistent laughs
The sequel to the 2017 hit, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, is a perfectly funny follow-up largely in part to the amazing chemistry of its leading trio.
Not too long after the events of the first film, Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) is no longer the triple-A rated bodyguard he was before. After his run-in with the unpredictable and disastrous hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson), Bryce’s bodyguarding license is not only under critical review, but he just can’t shake the impact that Kincaid had on his former normal professional life. Thus, he attempts to relieve himself of this stress by going on a sabbatical that ends up being short-lived when Darius’ equally eccentric wife Sonia (Salma Hayek) springs into his life guns-blazing. Now the trio must work together, or try to, to stop a wealthy terrorist named Aristotle (Antonio Banderas) from collapsing Europe.
To get the bad out of the way first, story-wise, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is truly sub-par. Things start out simple enough with Michael and Sonia having to work together to rescue Darius from a crime mob. However, everything that happens after that, like the trio being ensnared into helping Interpol save Europe, feels like an excuse to extend the plot. There are some character moments the film tries to shove in, like giving Sonia a secretive romantic background and Michael a big family reunion, that really don’t go anywhere all that special. Everything with Interpol and a Boston officer named Bobby O’Neil (Frank Grillo) is super pointless and is just meant to give the plot a standard direction. Even then, the plot still feels like a bunch of ideas and skits stitched together without any real sense of direction.
The action is also super uninventive and vastly pales in comparison to the comedy. The explosion effects are laughably bad at times and the direction for the action is incredibly uninspired. For the action genre being in top form like it is, it’s disappointing to see the bland, unremarkable, and typical genre tropes be used. Things like Michael and Darius essentially facing off against their clones/carbon copies are one of the many tiresome tropes that aren’t explored in fun ways to make them special, and the film doesn’t deliver crazy enough kills to make good use of its R-rating. Thankfully though, the film continually rocks it in the comedy department with its leading trio providing some great laughs.
Even when the film hits some story and action woes, the film always manages to find a way make you laugh with some real standout moments and consistent chemistry. It’s easy to look at Reynolds and Jackson’s performances here and say that they’re just doing their usual schticks – mainly because they kind of are. Somehow though, their routine hasn’t gotten completely stale yet and they stick make the opposing personalities of Michael and Darius a lot of fun. Their banter, which generally consists of Darius knocking Michael’s safeness, is usually pretty funny and the situations they find themselves in are hilarious. There are some hilarious snap cuts that catch you off guard and really gets the laughs going. Moments where Darius and Sonia really knock Michael silly and almost drive him insane. It really feels like Michael is on a crazy rollercoaster ride with Darius and Sonia at the helm just endlessly ramping up the loops and corkscrews they put him through and it’s really a blast to watch.
It’s also great how Hayek has a more prominent role here and adds another dash of delightful insanity to the film that’s incredibly funny at times. It’s great how the three of them really feel untethered here and it’s especially great for Hayek who delivers some funny lines that put both Michael and Darius in their place from time to time. Any time that Sonia and Michael have to work together is a lot of fun as it almost rivals the hilarity of him and Darius working side by side because of how loud and unrelenting her special brand of insanity can be. The ending joke is especially funny and insane in a way that feels right at home for these characters and makes a small post-credit scene worth sticking around for.
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard can feel like standard sequel fair at times with how it falters in the story and action department but provides enough great comedic moments to make it an easy, light-hearted crowd-pleaser.