As strongly advised by his therapist, ex-triple-A bodyguard Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) is on a self-imposed and gun-free sabbatical in Capri. Still traumatised by the loss of his bodyguard license – which was stripped from him for saving the life of infamous hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) – it seems Bryce is finally getting some much-needed poolside R&R.
That resolution lasts all of two minutes before Sonia Kincaid (Salma Hayek) storms in, guns blazing and with a dozen trigger-happy mobsters hot on her heels, and strong-arms Bryce into rescuing her husband from the Mafia. In a convoluted series of events, they rescue Kincaid, the trio is recruited by an American Interpol operative (Frank Grillo) to stop madman billionaire Aristotle Papadopolous (Antonio Banderas) from wiping out the European power grid, in retaliation for the EU imposing sanction on Greece. There’s a giant diamond-tipped drill, a briefcase with an exploding bracelet, some chatter about data junctions, and Morgan Freeman. Though if we’re being honest, who is coming to The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard for the plot?
Reynolds and Jackson mostly repeat the same beats in this sequel, though with diminishing returns. Banderas isn’t given much to do as a B-list Bond villain with a deeply questionable fashion sense, while Grillo and Tom Hopper (as mythical triple-A bodyguard Magnusson) lay on their signature charms atop underwritten roles. They all pale in the presence of Hayek who, no longer benched in her Dutch prison, single-handedly bolsters The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard with her unbridled energy, expletive-laden tirades (“I’m gonna put on a strap-on and fuck your dreams until they become nightmares!”), and delirious hamminess.
Though some of the gags might prove tedious and the big laughs are infrequent, Patrick Hughes’ sequel does elicit a regular stream of chuckles, and the fact the entire cast is clearly enjoying each other’s company – the paid trips to idyllic locations probably won’t have hurt, either – helps to keep the film engaging. Even so, it does struggle to keep the momentum going and concludes with an underwhelming final act, which is more or less inevitable when Hughes keeps the pedal to the metal from the starting line.
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is the kind of disposable entertainment that’s perfect for a tipsy movie night with friends. Amusing rather than funny, it’s a breezy, forgettable summer blockbuster that’s still fun while it’s on.
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is out in cinemas now.