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Review: The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (2021)

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (2021)

Directed by: Patrick Hughes

Premise: A sequel to 2017’s The Hitman’s Bodyguard. When assassin Darius Kinkaid (Samuel L. Jackson) is taken by criminals, his wife (Salma Hayek) recruits bodyguard Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) to save him.

What Works: 2017’s The Hitman’s Bodyguard was a light and entertaining action picture that succeeded largely on the likability of its central cast. Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds played an odd couple who bickered their way through one action set piece after another. The sequel continues many of the strengths of the original film, frequently improving them, and The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is better overall than its progenitor. The main addition to the sequel is Salma Hayek as Sonia, the wife of hitman Darius Kinkaid. Sonia is impulsive, loud, and occasionally psychotic and actress Salma Hayek spikes the familiar good cop/bad cop dynamic between Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds’ characters and keeps the scenario fresh and lively. The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is very funny. Laughs come at a steady clip with the three principal actors bouncing off one another. The film also moves along quickly despite a somewhat complicated story. The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard isn’t a brain teaser but the focus evolves over the course of the film, crisscrossing various subplots and supporting characters and redefining the character’s goals but in ways that are clear to the audience. The film is also smartly unified. Without belaboring the point, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard works in themes of family and duty in ways that bring the stories of the three lead characters together and gives the film a pleasing coherence.   

What Doesn’t: The set pieces of The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard aren’t competitive with other action films. The action genre has benefitted from a return to practical set pieces and ambitious stunt work as seen in the John Wick series and Atomic Blonde. The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard doesn’t possess anything that elaborate. The film’s emphasis is on its characters and the humor and while the comedy is done well the film misses opportunities to make the action humorous. Antonio Banderas is cast as the villain. Banderas does a decent job but the film doesn’t give him much to do. The story doesn’t make Banderas’ character an active participant in the action nor does he have any distinguishing personality ticks. He’s just a generic European bad guy that’s been seen before in a lot of American action pictures.

Bottom Line: The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is a satisfying action comedy. It leans more into the comedy than the action but the film is very funny and revisits the characters and scenarios of the original movie and mostly improves upon them.

Episode: #857 (June 27, 2021)