The world's most lethal odd couple - bodyguard Michael Bryce and hitman Darius Kincaid (Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson) - are back on another life-threatening mission. Still unlicensed and under scrutiny, Bryce is forced into action by Darius's even more volatile wife, the infamous international con artist Sonia Kincaid (Salma Hayek), as they negotiate a global plot by a billionaire madman (Antonio Banderas)...
Cash-in sequels are absolutely nothing new. Some obvious ones have been great.
As the urban legend goes, James Cameron pitched 'Aliens' by writing 'Alien' on a whiteboard and drawing a dollar sign on the end. Yet, for every 'Aliens', there's a 'Caddyshack 2' or, as a more recent effort, 'Zoolander 2'. Comedy sequels are, by and large, useless. You can count one hand the ones that are actually worth talking about. So, with that in mind, you go into 'The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard' armed with the knowledge that it's not going to come even close to living up to the first one. More than that, the first one was a minor hit. Certainly not deserving of a sequel, one would think.
Yet, armed with all this, 'The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard' is a shuddering disappointment of a movie. There is nothing to recommend here. There's zero to be gained by watching this. If you laugh, chances are it's by accident.
Ryan Reynolds, fair play to him, managed to slot the shoot for this in between cutting commercials for his gin brand or his mobile company while Salma Hayek and Samuel L. Jackson got involved probably because the locations include the Amalfi Coast and there was a fat cheque waiting for them at the end of the shoot. Really, could you blame anyone for taking that deal in this economy? Of course not. So with all those reasons out of the way, the mere fact that this is a strictly commercial venture for all involved, does it have any reason for taking up space in a cinema?
Absolutely not. The action sequences are loud, annoying, and poorly laid out. The jokes are fired out with the precision of a gatling gun being operated by a blind chimpanzee. Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds are both trying their damnedest to make it work, and Salma Hayek as well is giving it her all, cursing like a sailor at every available opportunity. Morgan Freeman turns up in a truly ridiculous role for about five minutes, maybe ten, while Antonio Banderas is taking wardrobe and hair inspiration from Johnny Logan. If all that sounds chaotic and kind of annoying, trust that trying to make sense of the story is just as bad.
It's got something to do with a Greek billionaire - that's Antonio Banderas' character - who wants to destroy the EU because of... economic sanctions? It's never really clear. In fact, if you want an idea of how many corners are being cut here, there's literally a moment where the footage cuts to someone holding up a sign saying 'We Are Angry' during a protest. It's just plain dumb, and while you don't need a strong raison d'être for an action-comedy like this, it's got to have some kind of hook to keep the whole thing going. Patrick Hughes is a competent director, and you only need to look at 2010's neo-Western 'Red Hill' or the goofy fun in 'The Expendables 3' for evidence of such. Yet here, the whole thing just seems so flat and uninterested in itself. The whole thing is strung together in such an uninterested fashion that you can clearly tell everyone is just working the job and nothing else.