Director Patrick Hughes (The Expendables 3) returns for The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, the sequel to his 2017 hit action-comedy. Bringing the original cast and much of the crew together again, he and screenwriter Tom O’Connor (The Courier) prove that lightning can strike the same spot twice, given the right conditions.
Bodyguard Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) is facing a life crisis. His license has been taken away because of a failed job. This has also left him with a psychological inability to do the job even if he were reinstated. His therapist advises a life change, starting with a vacation from his work and lifestyle. Unfortunately, this ends just as it begins when Sonia (Salma Hayek), the wife of his nemesis, assassin Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson), enlists him to help liberate her husband from kidnappers. As a result, all three are drawn into a plot to destabilize the European Union. They must set aside their differences and work together to foil the plot and reestablish stability in their lives, or all will face the consequences of prior actions.
If the premise sounds a bit silly, it is. That aside, it works as a fun, light action-comedy. O’Connor knows how to blend these two styles successfully, without crossing the line too often into farce. When he does, it is with the confidence that Reynolds is a veteran in the genre and will keep it straight, if not exactly sane. Hughes knows how to take that script and translate it to the screen successfully through the skillful use of the actors. Reynolds has found his niche as the guy who never can quite catch a break, and this film is no different. At moments, this is almost taken to the point of obscenity, but he never falters and thus never loses the audience. Jackson is the perfect straight man to Reynolds, and when you add Hayek’s seductive insanity to the mix, it works well. The three actors have a chemistry that leaves the audience laughing and wanting more.
The locations are beautiful, but the cinematography moves too quickly, so it isn’t easy to enjoy the scenes. This is also true in some of the action, creating more frenzy than is necessary and making some events hard to follow. Fortunately, the story, direction, and acting more than make up for this issue. Most of the music is scene-appropriate, but it does at times get lost.
Because of its genre, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard isn’t likely to win cinematic praise despite the solid acting and direction. Regardless, it is an incredibly fun film to watch. It should be satisfying to fans of both comedy and action, with some laughs that will take them completely off-guard.