A film review by Craig J. Koban August 31, 2021

HITMAN'S WIFE'S BODYGUARD j

2021, R, 116 mins.

Ryan Reynolds as Michael Bryce  / Samuel L. Jackson as Darius Kincaid  / Salma Hayek as Sonia Kincaid  /  Antonio Banderas as Aristotle Papadopolous  / Morgan Freeman as Senior  /  Frank Grillo as Interpol Agent  / Richard E. Grant as Seifert

Directed by Patrick Hughes  /  Written by Brandon Murphy

 

 

 

Three things overwhelmed my thoughts all throughout my screening of HITMAN'S WIFE'S BODYGUARD: 

1. Why doesn't this film have a THE at the beginning of its title?  HITMAN'S WIFE'S BODYGUARD seems odd and grammatically incorrect.  It simply doesn't roll off of the tongue very well.  Now, try saying THE HITMAN'S WIFE'S BODYGUARD.  See the difference? 

2. Is this the only film in history to have back-to-back apostrophe S words in its title?  I think so.  I mean, I spent a majority of my 116 minutes watching the film pondering this oddity.  Yes, there have been countless films with a single apostrophe S word in their titles...but two?!  Back-to-back?!  Never.  At least none that I'm aware of.  And I've screened and reviewed well over 2000 films since the mid-2000s here. 

3.  Why is there so much yelling in this film?  Everyone yells.  Like, so much.  All the time.  It's incessant.  Is this what the makers think can be substituted in for comedy?  Make everyone bellow at the top of their lungs and this will someone make the laughs flow better?  Watching THE HITMAN'S WIFE'S...whoops....sorry...HITMAN'S WIFE'S (sigh) BODYGUARD is like behind surrounded by drunken hooligans for hours on end and with no ability to silence or flee from them.  And considering the bounty of highly capable actors at the helm here (Samuel L. Jackson, Ryan Reynolds, Salma Hayek, Antonio Banderas, and Morgan Freeman, all of whom scream so bloody much throughout), this film might represent the worst misappropriation of talent in any film production of recent memory. 

Okay, I lied.  A fourth thought plagued my mind while watching THE HITMAN'S WIFE'S...dammit...HITMAN'S WIFE'S (sigh) BODYGUARD: 

4.  I don't remember hardly anything that occurred in its predecessor, the more okay sounding THE HITMAN'S BODYGUARD (far less apostrophe S words in that one!).   The only thing that saved it from being completely passable and disposable drivel was the presence and pairing of Jackson and Reynolds, with both of them realizing the sheer limits of the paint-by-numbers material given to them, so they overcompensated by making their odd couple chemistry work.  As a throwback to mixed race buddy action comedies of yesteryear, THE HITMAN'S BODYGUARD (see how much easier that title is to say) had modest appeal, but did it stick with me in any meaningful way to warrant a sequel?  Nope.  Not at all. 

As a matter of fact, it's pretty hard to imagine a less necessary and more aggressively unfunny action comedy sequel than HITMAN'S (sigh) WIFE'S BODYGUARD. 

HITMAN'S WIFE'S (sigh) BODYGUARD follows, yes, THE HITMAN'S BODYGUARD by reintroducing us to disgraced and suspended bodyguard Michael Bryce (Reynolds), who once again finds himself re-teaming up with hitman Darius Kincaid (Jackson) and his hot headed wife in Sonia (Hayek) to stop a madman terrorist Aristotle (Banderas) from launching an attack on much of Europe.  Michael has lost his prized bodyguard license after his last partnership (if one could call it that) with Darius, leading to him even seeking out therapy (the manner that this film uses therapy for cheap laughs is just...well...cheap and lazy).  While trying to find himself and relax during a much needed vacation, Michael finds himself - like Michael Corleone before him - being pulled back in to a life of unbridled madness and danger with the sudden appearance of Sonia, who needs Michael to help her reclaim her kidnapped husband.  The highly reluctant Michael finds himself on the run with the fire and brimstone Sonia, and after they manage to free Darius the trio find themselves working with an Interpol Agent (Frank Grillo) to hunt down a loose cannoned maniac in Aristotle (Banderas), a Greek terrorist looking to put Europe on notice by acquiring and detonating an EMP bomb, which would send the E.U. back to the Stone Age. 

 

 

Lots.  Of.  Yelling.  Ensues. 

It's almost inconceivable how creatively wrongheaded HITMAN'S WIFE'S (sigh) BODYGUARD is as a sequel.  It actual commits so many of the same tired mistakes that all bad sequels do: Rehash the original, offer very little different elements, and hope to somehow come up with a final product that will make bank and appease fans of the original.  Well, we get the same cast from the original as well as the same director in Patrick Hughes, with the latter making the unpardonable blunder of thinking that bigger, louder, and more chaotic equals better for round two.  The ultra tedious and almost insufferable rinse and repeat cycle of A-list actors bellowing at one another followed by headache inducing action set pieces is an endurance test of will.  The violence and carnage in HITMAN'S WIFE'S (sigh) BODYGUARD IS numbing enough, but perhaps what's even more fingernails on a chalkboard exasperating here is what Hughes does with Hayek this go around.  The Oscar nominated actress has apparently been given the thumbs up by Hughes to play the most hyper-exaggerated Mexican woman stereotype imaginable, with Sonia unleashing vulgarities while maintaining an utterly toxic personality.  And she screams....oh, does she scream....a lot, so much so that I was frankly worried about Hayek's emotional well being during the shoot.  This is what actresses of her stature in the industry is given these days?  Hayek is unbearably histrionic here. 

As for the other two thirds of this trio?  It's kind of staggering, but Jackson and Reynolds seem to have none of the spirited camaraderie that made the first film at least tolerable.  Jackson is in pure phoned-in paycheck grabbing mode, now playing his trademark mannerisms so over the top as Darius that the character almost becomes a Sam Jackson parody.  Reynolds spends much of the film cracking wise and looking utterly befuddled at the sheer lunacy that Sonia and Darius place him in.  As for the other actors beyond them?  Grillo demonstrated in this year's surprisingly decent time looping action comedy BOSS LEVEL that he can acclimate himself well to funny material that also requires him to get physical, but here he seems hopelessly out of his element.  And HITMAN'S WIFE'S (sigh) BODYGUARD has a terribly concocted villain in Banderas' Aristotle, who's like the least scary Bond baddie wannabe imaginable.  One peculiar element is why the makers here cast a Spanish man to play a Greek man...and then have the Spanish actor attempt no Greek accent whatsoever.  I get it, though, that having Banderas and Hayek on screen together will have action film nuts getting all nostalgic and tingly thinking about their partnership in DESPERADO all those years ago.  I thought more about DESPERADO when the pair were on screen in HITMAN'S WIFE'S (sigh) BODYGUARD than I did about anything they were doing in film. 

This sequel is just a comedy dead zone.  Pure and simple.  And when the comedy fails the action - all done with seizure causing editing, hyperactive camerawork, and some really shoddy CGI (how many times is Reynolds being run over by a car and outlandishly tossed into the air like a Looney Tunes cartoon character are they gonna throw at us?!) - bludgeons us into apathy.  What we're left with in HITMAN'S WIFE'S (sigh) BODYGUARD is either a surefire cure for insomnia...or a commercial ad for pain relief medication.  My head was simply spinning from listening to all of the character yelling that pierced my eardrums...and all of the mental gymnastics I was doing while pondering if other multiple apostrophe S worded titled movies exist out there.  

Sigh. 

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