Released: 24th June
Seen: 10th June (Advance Screening)
4 years ago, The Hitman’s Bodyguard was released to theatres and it was a cartoon-scented blast of joy straight to the heart. A giddy concoction made up of equal parts explosions and the word “motherfucker” that gave the audience a mindless ride that went for a few hours with some of the most charismatic stars to be put on this planet. Naturally, a movie that’s going for something that broad made bank and so, with The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, we get a sequel that’s more of what we saw before and thank god for that because I need that familiar sense of normalcy.
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard starts simply with Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) going through therapy to deal with the recent nightmares he’s been having which appear to be caused by his very high-stress job as a bodyguard. Under his psychiatrist’s orders, Michael goes on a holiday in Capris (like the pants… yes, they make that exact joke) where he won’t do any bodyguarding or shoot anything. At least that’s the plan until Sonia Kincaid (Salma Hayek) turns up guns ablaze and demands that Michael help her get Darius (Samuel L Jackson) who has been kidnapped by the Mafia.
While this is going on, the Mafia kingpin Aristotle Papadopolous (Antonio Banderas) is preparing a terrorist attack on the EU power grid in order to destroy the entire EU as payback for sanctions that have been placed on Aristotle’s homeland of Greece. Somehow the plot regarding the rescue of Darius intersects with Aristotle and so our three lead characters must stop the Mafia boss from destroying half of the planet, while also dealing with Michael’s residual issues with his step-father Senior (Morgan Freeman) and while being followed by Boston loving Interpol agent Bobby O’Neill (Frank Grillo).
As you can see, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard has a somewhat more complicated plot than “Ryan Reynolds will drive Sam Jackson to the Hague and things will go awry” which was the basic plot of the last film. This far more elaborate plot means that the stakes are raised to a level so over the top that it almost matches the tone of the film. Much like last time, this is a cartoon with a lot of blood and liberal use of obscenity and the idea that you’re going to be taking anything seriously is insane. There is no care given for logic, consistency or the limits of what the human body can handle and to be honest, that’s what I wanted when I saw the poster for this film with this cast.
The insanity is heightened by this obscenely talented cast who all signed on to have fun and go as over the top as they could. The chemistry that carried the first movie between Jackson and Reynolds is as strong as ever, while Freeman and Banderas make their small roles absolutely shine whenever they’re on screen. The real star of The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is Salma Hayek (aka The Hitman’s Wife) who comes on the screen at about 25 in terms of energy and somehow finds more places to go. She is having more fun than anyone, turns out that if you give an iconic actress semi-automatic weapons and let her swear like a sailor, you’re going to get something entertaining out of it.
The complicated plot of The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard does leave a bit to be desired, mostly because it means we have to keep leaving our core trio and take time away to deal with the actual heavy plot and the implications of a madman destroying the EU for the sake of his own country… I mean, we saw Boris Johnson try that and clearly it didn’t work. I’m just trying my best to follow what’s going on, the last time I barely had to think at all because it was a road trip movie with cursing but this time it’s so much grander, so many plots going around and even emotional backstory involving gelato… I’m just not here to think that hard.
Fortunately for me, the plot might be a bit odd and unwieldy but The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard makes up for it with a lot of genuine charm and good comedy. More than a few times I had to force myself to stay seated properly because I was laughing pretty damn hard (Mostly cos of Salma… god damn she is amazing). Honestly the whole “I will destroy the EU” thing feels tacked on to give gravitas that no one was asking for. If they had just stuck with “Darius has been kidnapped” and let the entire movie be about Michael and Sonia trying to find him that would’ve probably been much better.
Still, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is not really the kind of film you should think too much about. Did you like the last one? Great, you’ll probably like this one too because it’s that movie but more. Do you like any of the people in the cast? Great, there’s a moment here that you’re going to love because every actor has at least one spectacular scene in them. It’s not the kind of film you need to think about, stop looking for reasons to empathise with the characters. We’re here to watch great actors shoot guns and yell “motherfucker” and this film does that.