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The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard 2021 Movie Review Poster Trailer Online
Director: Patrick Hughes
Writers: Tom O’Connor(screenplay), Brandon Murphy(screenplay), Phillip Murphy(screenplay)
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Frank Grillo, Salma Hayek
It’s rare to have an original action movie in the superhero-saturated landscape of 2021. But while The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is a sequel to a script that wasn’t based on an already existing IP, it still feels like a stretch to call it original. If you disliked The Hitman’s Bodyguard then this sequel barely improves on it, although it does ambitiously aim to be entirely unlike any other movie simply by being so derivative and out-and-out weird that you might think it’s an okay “WTF” watch.
Returning to the action-packed and familiar world of Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds), a one time AAA licensed bodyguard — if you’re wondering why we mentioned his license status, it’s actually and bafflingly a key part of the plot — whose life was turned upside down in the last movie, the hero is now struggling to deal with his new status quo as an unlicensed bodyguard. He’s in therapy, he’s on sabbatical, and he’s hating it. But he need not worry as Sonia Kincaid (Salma Hayek), the wife of his old client/enemy Darius Kincaid (Samuel L Jackson), needs his help. Darius has been kidnapped and while that seems like a movie-length mission to fill the 99-minute run time, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard has no interest in a single narrative or even making a modicum of sense. All this sequel cares about is a high body count, outrageous sex scenes between Jackson and Hayak, explosions, and whether Michael will get his bodyguard license back… really.
As the central trio follows their world-ending MacGuffin to many beautiful locations around Europe, you can see why three of Hollywood’s most recognizable faces took on this lackluster script. Who doesn’t want an all-expenses-paid European holiday? That’s the only relatable part of the film, though. The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard doesn’t have the heart or ridiculously sincere power of a Fast and the Furious film but also doesn’t have the action chops of a John Wick. It seems most indebted to classic action flicks like Die Hard and the back catalogs of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jean-Claude Van Damme but it does not nearly have the range, script, or action set pieces to deliver. Instead, this feels like the kind of film you’d put on Netflix on a Saturday and spend most of the time going “did you just see that?” to anyone else watching as the stakes and silliness get higher and higher.
Samuel L Jackson and Ryan Reynolds should be a match made in unexpected team-up heaven. But Reynolds is given a script that makes him Deadpool without the mask, smart mouth, or cool regenerative powers, a twist that would have upped the quality of this movie exponentially. So while he should be the straight man to Jackson’s outlandish (and rather entertaining) hitman, he is, instead, just a zany guy full of quips who loves being a bodyguard more than life itself. Hayek is let loose in the most extreme version of the “fiery Latina” stereotype you’ve ever seen. She’s clearly having the most fun out of everyone, but like most of The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, it’s unclear whether it’s meant to be an SNL-level parody of what Hollywood action films are or if this is just what the creators think they could get away with.
There are moments of absolute madness where you wish the team had committed fully to the bonkers balls to the wall film they clearly wanted to make at some point. The final act offers a few legitimate laughs but also relies on pure nonsense to get us there. The film is at its funniest when Michael becomes victim to the horny hit-people he’s been saddled with, a sort of weasely punching bag for their strange sadomasochistic romance. Antonio Banderas also delivers some solid ridiculousness as the arch-villain that someone in the movie describes as “if Liberace f****d a pair of curtains,” which also sums up the level of humor the film delivers.
Whether or not you like The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard will likely not be determined until the final joke of the movie, which is so wildly surreal and odd that I wanted to see the version of the movie which fit with that final ridiculous gambit. If it gets you laughing then maybe this sequel has found a fan, or maybe you’re just in shock, who knows?