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Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard review – a fun but confused mess

The unlikely duo is back, but is it for better or for worst?

Our Verdict

Despite some jokes that land, charmingly goofy editing, and even an enjoyable pun or two, this sequel just misses the mark.

Back in 2017, we first saw the unlikely yet wacky relationship between a loose cannon hitman (Samuel L. Jackson), and a straight-laced bodyguard (Ryan Reynolds) in the aptly named movie The Hitman’s Bodyguard. And now we get even more of the walking cinematic oxymoron (or should we say dynamic duo) in this light-hearted sequel.

Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard directly follows the events from the first film, and attempts to create an epic action-comedy, taking viewers on an adrenaline-inducing and explosion-filled tour of Europe. However, with too many dad jokes, a lacklustre plot, and an excessive amount of subpar CGI fire and effects, Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard never really finds its stride in storytelling, and ultimately doesn’t go beyond being a fun first-time watch at best.

Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds), after taking a bullet for the notorious hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson), is now dealing with losing his license as a triple-A bodyguard. With a firm push from his therapist, he decides to go to Italy for a vacation to forget about his nightmares and obsession with failure, and sets out to do some soul searching. However, his calm trip to Italy is interrupted by a ricochet of bullets, and the appearance of Kincaid’s feisty wife, Sonia (Salma Hayek). Dragged into a dangerous mess, Bryce finds himself entangled with Kincaid once more, getting shot at yet again, run over multiple times, and being forced into the film’s main plot point, a mission to save Europe.

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Despite some jokes that land, charmingly goofy editing, and even an enjoyable pun or two, the film’s writing can only be described as a classic kerfuffle. Written by Tom O’Connor, Brandon Murphy, and Phillip Murphy, there seems to be a case of too many cooks in the kitchen, as plotlines fight one another, and all exposition and character development feels clunky, and at times even awkward. Everything in Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard feels too easy, too sudden and inconsequential, with the climax never really hitting viewers, and all the action-packed scenes feeling predictably safe.

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The primary premise of the film is the main characters forced into a mission where they must prevent the ostentatiously dressed Greek mastermind Aristotle Papadopoulous (Antonio Banderas) from drilling into the European Unions’ underwater database. But, as distracting flashbacks, such as Bryce’s random gelato trauma or the out of the blue appearance of his legendary bodyguard father (Morgan Freeman) take over the movie – replacing any significant story progression – tension is lost, and the pacing begins to falter.

Despite its base problems with the script, the acting (excluding Banderas’ non-accent attempt at a Greek accent) is full of life. It’s easy to tell that the actors enjoyed this film, and it’s a pity that their high energy and dedicated performances couldn’t be channeled into more three-dimensional characters. However, their effort and obvious enjoyment in their roles is infectious, making Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard surprisingly fun once you stop questioning its logic.

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All in all, Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, will make you laugh occasionally, but with its questionable script, it will also make you raise an eyebrow or two. Still, with its quirky concept paired with some great performances, it isn’t a title that should be overlooked entirely; it deserves a quick glance at the very least.