Published four years ago for a collective “Sure, I want to see it, I guess” shrugs off the audience’s rubber stamping, Hitman’s bodyguard dared to wonder what Midnight ran would look like if it had no moral center to talk about plus ripple of movie stars instead of actual characters. Still, the slippery, derivative buddy comedy is a model for sparkling Hollywood entertainment compared to its sequel. If the inelegant has the title Hitman’s wife’s bodyguard had an iota of humor, it could act as one Gremlins 2 parody of its predecessor, so skewed it shifts the already nominal sense that everything that happens on screen has any meaning. Instead, the increased comic book wisdom in this new installment feels like a joke at the expense of the viewer: The impression is of a creative team laughing that they get away with this again, like a group of bank robbers howling when they round block in their getaway car and then circle back to hit the same spot again.
If the original had anything to do with it, it was the half-hearted chemistry between its eponymous mismatched partners, the eternally required bodyguard Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) and the cucumber-cool international assassin Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson). Neither Reynolds nor Jackson stretched exactly, but the film at least understood the appeal of its calculation – the potential comic benefits of skipping Reynolds’ sarcastic arousal of Jackson’s dizzying reverence. You got what you paid for with this pairing, even though the movie around it was both forgettable and rather uncomfortably unwieldy in its chaos.
Hitman’s wife’s bodyguard (again, what a title) wasting some time reuniting its stars. But the spark between them is fizz. Jackson, on the other hand, struggles harder with just being Sam Jackson, a timeless icon of cool than he has ever done before, which really says something. He strikes back in his role with an unmistakable indifference and fuzzy all qualities that distinguish this crackling swinging cock from a dozen others on his resume. By the fifth bored, perfunctory “bastard”, you realize that you are witnessing the kind of checked out deposit that his Jackie Brown costar Robert De Niro has done, on and blessed, for the last few decades. Reynolds, on the other hand, gets bigger, albeit in accordance with a script that turns the characteristic neurosis of his character into a deeply annoying 11. At the behest of his therapist, Bryce has cut off violence (“I’m on sabbatical,” he keeps waving, which becomes less funny every time he says it), and the film treats his prissy pacifism as a license to abuse slapstick, shot-gun-stunt doubles in walls, and sends rubbery digital avatars of Bryce through windshields.
As the title suggests, Kincaid’s spouse, played by a persistently teasing or screaming Salma, played Hayek, has been promoted to co-lead, her Sonia was recently identified as an “international con-woman.” Let’s just say that the little bit of the character’s nonstop, high-volume invective we got in the first film went a long way. Most of the film unfolds as a shrill third-reel sitcom, as Reynolds’ vacation Bryce is caught up in accompanying the unarmed couple on a strangely relaxed mission across scenic, must-have-by-a-comfortable-shoot Italy. Their goal: a strong, stylish, right-wing Greek billionaire, played with an apropos of lack of spirit, by Antonio Banderas. (What goes well in this movie is to put the stars on Desperate back in the frame together and then give them nothing fun to say or do.) Why would Interpol – in the form of this time DTV action cornerstone Frank Grillo, who is unlikely to point a gun at anyone – trust Europe’s fate for two sociopaths and a reformed “executive protection” expert? Save such questions for a movie that may even be annoying pretend to worry about the details of its slapdash plot.
The humor goes Austin Powers wide. Even by action-comedy standards, the villain’s plan is pure nonsense: it involves a deep-sea exercise, a computer virus, and the notion that all of Europe’s data is stored in a single, highly protected hub. A discount ZAZ sensitivity creeps into even the perforating globe-trotting tablecloth, which when Bryce’s question about a potential holiday destination gets a quick recall with the location identifier “Capri [like the pants] Italy. “The film continues to goofing on the originals, which in turn can be funny if the goofs were funny; the script’s self-reflexive streak is similar to the absurdist tragedy of backstory-dispensing flashbacks, smashing Bryce’s obsession with his lost body protection license and repeating a tired Lionel Richie needle drop joke, only this time drawn by the music splashing out, record-scratch- style. As in the first film, Hitman’s wife’s bodyguard wants it both ways and gives us antiheroes who see ruthless killing as nothing more than a ridiculous question, while also expecting us to give two shit about their fertility problems. It’s cute nihilism, all hugs and headshots.
Through this strained fragility, the film often neglects action side of the equation. Which is perhaps best: The recurring director Patrick Hughes forgives the fashionable John Wick he moves approximately poorly on his first attempt in favor of more generic, rare outbursts of shootings and chases that do not, quite spectacularly, create a compelling continuity between the actors jumping around in close-up in the vehicle’s front stage and the cars explode in miserable CGI- fire in accompanying wide roofs. What the set pieces have in common with everything else in this thunderous, insulting mechanical franchise hopeful is the overwhelming feeling that everyone involved said “good enough” at every turn. It is only wise in the way it lowers the standards of this kind of thing and ensures that future successors who give half an ass instead of just under a quarter will give more enthusiasm or at least relief.