There comes a point after every exciting and successful standalone film where a bunch of showbiz folks come together and discuss the sequel. You can imagine that some of these conversations unpack the potential of a complex cinematic universe. Some discuss how to pack in bigger names and more action. In the case of THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD, the sequel to the 2017 buddy-action film The Hitman’s Bodyguard, the conception of this film began and ended with a simple, “Fuck it. Let’s go.”
THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD brings back the dynamic comedy-action stylings of Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson and adds the ensemble equivalent of gunpowder with Salma Hayek, Antonio Banderas, and Morgan Freeman. The film is directed by Patrick Hughes with a truly bonkers screenplay by Tom O’Connor, Phillip Murphy, and Brandon Murphy.
In THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD, bodyguard Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) is on a bit of a sabbatical. His license to bodyguard is suspended and he’s crumbling under the scrutiny of his peers. What starts out as a relaxing getaway and a journey of self-acceptance goes straight to hell when Sonia Kincaid (Salma Hayek) tracks Bryce down in need of his help. Bryce finds himself on another perilous mission, at the center of a global terrorist plot with two of the most dangerous and insane people alive.
In a word, THE HITMAN’S WIFE BODYGUARD is absurd. Completely absurd. Almost disarmingly absurd. Every plot point, every joke, every zinger, every sight gag – it’s all just off-the-wall insane. The film is pulpy with a sort of B-movie camp that doesn’t quite match with its high-quality cast and special effects. Somehow the polish makes it even more absurd.
In case it wasn’t clear, this film is not good. Not good in the traditional sense, anyway. THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD reaches for the low-hanging fruit unabashedly and devours it with such gusto that you can’t help but be charmed by it. Every element of the film – from writing and large scope to individual performance moments – is f***ing silly. Silly but so on point with these larger-than-life, utterly absurd characters. It works. Somehow it works. It may even be brilliantly intentional. What I know for certain is that the film is a ton of fun.
Our core trio of Reynolds, Hayek, and Jackson is an absolute riot. Samuel L. Jackson’s Darius Kincaid hits a lot of the same notes as his performance in the first film, making him so easy to love in this sequel. Reynolds is delightfully neurotic and “squish his widdle face” precious, but the real accolade goes to Salma Hayek. She’s a force. A nuclear core of comedic energy that radiates in every scene she’s in. Her character is the most deranged and, therefore, the most fun and the wildest to watch the accomplished actress disappear into.
As for Antonio Banderas, THE HITMAN’S WIFE BODYGUARD is an excellent reminder of how good it is to be bad. Banderas is wickedly slick and makes evil look good. A classic action-baddie performance made better by the chance to see him and Hayek share the screen.
While THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD definitely leans more heavily into the comedy side of action-comedy, that’s not to say that the film slouches in the “blowing shit up” department. This – again, truly silly – movie is almost elevated by the quality of the action sequences and its top-notch soundtrack. The film hits the audience hard with everything its got and that makes it so easy to love.
A film like THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD is so difficult to nail down. Is it a good film? No. Did it accomplish what it set out to do? Absolutely. I would urge any excited movie-goer to enter with realistic expectations. Do not expect a rehash of the first film. Do not expect greatness. But do buckle your seatbelts and lean in for one hell of a ride. THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD is a take no prisoners, laugh out loud romp.
THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD hits theaters on June 16, 2021.