"Boring is always best," bemoans Ryan Reynolds’ sensitive protector Michael Bryce in Patrick Hughes’ sequel to his 2017 action comedy, The Hitman’s Bodyguard. But with a body count higher than peak Rambo, explosions on every corner, vehicle wrecks and some fruity language from co-star Salma Hayek, there isn’t much time for ‘boring’ here. If you’re a fan of mid-’90s-era Michael Bay (Bad Boys et al), step right up.
While the original Bodyguard was rather hit-and-miss, Hughes and co. have grown a little more into their respective roles. Smart-mouth bodyguard Bryce suits Reynolds down to a tee, more so now he’s lost his license to guard and is in therapy (with Britain’s Rebecca Front amusingly playing his shrink). On sabbatical in Capri, he’s no sooner settling down for some R&R when Hayek’s mad-as-a-brush Sonia shows up, imploring him to help rescue her hitman hubbie Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson), whom Bryce previously escorted to The Hague.
Trouble is, the über-sensitive Bryce has sworn off guns (he’ll use a pepper spray, though), which adds spice to this madcap mission across Mediterranean Europe. Before long, our three protagonists are all working for Interpol to bring down Antonio Banderas’ slippery Greek billionaire, who has a bee in his bonnet over the EU imposing financial sanctions on his homeland. Somehow, he’s got hold of a diamond-tipped drill that can cause a devastating power surge across Europe. Yes, really. Truth be told, the only thing more ridiculous than the plot is Banderas’ bad-taste Euro-trash wardrobe...
Really, THWB is all about amping up the action and the comedy to 11. Given the amount of hardware (helicopters, boats, bridges, cars) that comes a cropper, Hughes’ camera must be fitted with a big red ‘destruct’ button on it. But that would soon get samey without a lively, zinger-filled script which Reynolds, Hayek, and Jackson all relish. Bringing the trio together for extended periods – something the original didn’t do – helps bring the movie alive.
Between Bryce’s mopey introspection (which – without spoiling it – has something to do with a big A-list cameo), Sonia’s desire to be a mother and Darius’ own personal secrets, there’s enough here to keep the characters as more than just mouthpieces for smart one-liners.
The sticking point for some will be the bone-crunching violence, of which there’s A LOT. But if you can stomach that, then this ticks that dumb-fun summer-movie box nicely.
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The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard is in UK cinemas now and US theaters from June 16. For more, check out the best upcoming movies.