16 Jun 2021

Review - The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard

From At The Movies, 7:33 pm on 16 June 2021

The sequel to the popular Hitman’s Bodyguard is called The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard – starring once again... Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L Jackson and Salma Hayek.

Simon Morris: When a movie called The Hitman's Bodyguard turned up a couple of years back, starring motormouth Ryan Reynolds and foul-mouthed Samuel L Jackson, I didn't actually see it at the cinema.

I mean, the plot's in the title, the stars give you an idea of what's going to happen, so why bother, right?

In the end, I saw it a few weeks ago on TV. It was all I expected. It was all I expected and somehow less. And now it's more or less back.

Why I was so depressed by The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard is it seemed to be an indication of where action movies had come to.

I remember when the first Die Hard was considered a new low in stupidity. Now it's considered an action classic, certainly compared to what came next.

This is what came next. The first Hitman's Bodyguard film was about a hitman - Samuel L Jackson - being protected so he can testify against even worst people.

His bodyguard is a by-the-book bureaucrat - Ryan Reynolds - whose motto is "boring is best".

Who wouldn't want to see all this again? All right, put your hands down, it was a rhetorical question.

In the sequel, Ryan's character Michael Bryce is in therapy and told to stay away from bodyguarding. But on holiday he's attacked by gunmen and hitman Darius's volatile wife Sonia.

How has Salma Hayak managed to have as long a career in Hollywood as she has, and still maintain a Mexican accent as thick as chilli con carne?

Same for the villain of this film, the equally Latin Antonio Banderas, here playing a Greek multi-billionaire.

The plot takes off in all directions right from the start. In fact, I don't think I've ever been to a film so unwilling to sit down and have a breather.

No sooner has Sonia dragged Michael off to meet Darius, when they rush off, pursued by bad guys all over whatever Mediterranean city they find themselves in.

Then they're stopped in their tracks by a second set of gunmen - or is it a third set? You will lose count after a while.

And when our two wacky heroes and one heroine take their blindfolds off, they're greeted by a familiar face.

Hollywood's current motto seems to be "no show without Frank Grillo." This year alone we've seen him in Cosmic Sin, Boss Level and No Man's Land.

He's also, I'm told, just completed six more movies and a TV series this year alone. Has he never heard of social distancing?

Here Grillo plays a CIA official, who alternates exposition of the plot with yelling at Michael, Darius and Sonia.

I could have told him he's wasting his time. Everyone's already yelling at everyone else in this movie. That's if they're not shooting at each other.

By now there's literally no let up. The only time people aren't chasing each other in loud cars, they're shooting at each other with loud guns or yelling at each other with tasteless wisecracks.

So this is it, I thought. This is the future - films for people who think Fast and Furious movies are too introspective. (HEAVEN HELP US)

But to my surprise, the cinema was far from packed. Maybe the cynics are wrong. Maybe you can underestimate the intelligence of the movie-going public.

Maybe they simply looked at the title - The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard - realised there wasn't any more to it than that, and thought we can do better. Let's hope so.

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