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Review: The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard Proves Salma Hayek Can More Than Keep Up with the Boys

June 9, 2021 08:50 | By
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard

Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds in The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard

If you go back and watch the 2017 action-comedy, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, it’s pretty obvious that the chemistry between Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson is what drove that movie and what made it more than your typical buddy action-comedy we’ve seen many times before. In that movie, Salma Hayek had a small but significant role as Sonia, the feisty, foul-mouthed wife of Jackson’s hitman, Darius Kinkaid. As you might guess from the title, the idea of this sequel is to give Hayek a bigger role, as she keeps up with the previous duo both in terms of action and trading comic barbs with the guys.

Reynolds’ former AAA registered bodyguard Michael Bryce is trying to get his license back, but the events of the first movie and his road trip with Darius left him needing therapy. His frustrated therapist advises him to take a vacation and a sabbatical from bodyguarding, bullets and blood. Bryce is doing just that when Sonia finds him and begs him to help her rescue Darius, who has been kidnapped by the Mafia. Meanwhile, Interpol Agent Bobby O’Neill (Frank Grillo) is trying to put a stop to global cyberattack, but when Darius kills his contact before he can get crucial info, he recruits the oddball constantly-arguing trio to step up and help save the world. 

Salma Hayek

Salma Hayek in The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard

The idea of making the sequel bigger and better is something we’ve seen fail so many times in the past. I wouldn’t say that’s the case with The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, because it does offer a few of its own new layers while retaining much of what worked the first time, and yet, it does feel like it’s missing something. Obviously, throwing Hayek’s Sonia directly into the mix might take something away from that aforementioned chemistry between Reynolds and Jackson, but it does add another level of passive-aggressiveness that allows Jackson to relax a bit. In fact, Jackson may be a bit too relaxed as he lets his co-stars do a lot of the heavy lifting, so he can take it easy. It’s just not the same, which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad, but even Hayek seems to tire of spouting non-stop expletives. On the other hand, she also gets more into the action, and anyone who saw Joe Lynch’s Everly knows she’s quite capable of keeping up with the boys in that respect.

The always-entertaining Antonio Banderas plays the diabolical villain Aristotle, the mastermind behind the attempt to unleash a virus into the global computer system. He’s definitely better in the antagonist role than Gary Oldman in the previous movie, but he also brings in a rival bodyguard to Bryce and a rival hitman for Kinkaid to fight in the inevitable climax. Maybe those last two things weren’t that necessary, but it’s not the most ludicrous addition to the story either.

HItmansBodyguardWifeREview2

Director Patrick Hughes has come a long way since his weak earlier film, Expendables 3, and while this sequel has a few somewhat silly expositional moments, he does step up when it comes to the action sequences, mainly bringing back his crew from the first movie. DoP Terry Stacey is one of the new additions who does a fine job giving the movie a stylistic boost for certain sequences. The real superstars on Hughes’ team have to be Editors Jack Hutchings and Michael Duthie, whose work cutting in the action scenes does as much for that aspect of the movie as it does in the comedic moments. Likewise, the amazing stunt team continues to put together some great chases and fight sequences, although the three main actors have such distinct body types, it’s sometimes far too obvious when we’re watching the stunt people. The film’s location manager did a good job making the film seem far more global than it actually is while Production Designer Russell De Rozario does a great job making every location fit together aesthetically.  Costume Designer Stephanie Collie mainly shines with her designs for dressing up Sonia and Aristotle.

One of the weaker points of the film is its music with the score by Atli Örvarsson, punctuated by a number of odd needle drops by Music Supervisor Ryan Svendsen.  It’s the aspect of the movie that feels a bit staid and traditional, and though it doesn’t necessarily hurt or slow down the film’s pacing, it does make it feel a bit cheaper. 

Despite all that and most importantly,  the movie is funny. Watching Ryan Reynolds’ character being thrown about and mangled offers endless laughs, and the dynamic of the three of them together does grow on you as the movie goes along. There’s also another veteran actor who offers even another layer to the film’s second half, even if it also brings the film further into the ludicrous.

Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L. Jackson

While watching The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, it’s hard not to reflect back on the soon-to-come F9, which obviously had a significantly bigger budget but also had way more storytelling problems,  whereas this one doesn’t seem too concerned if its story is all over the place, because it knows it can always return to what works — the main trio.

While The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard suffers from some of the same “Did we really need this sequel?” as others, it’s a perpetually entertaining and funny movie that doesn’t disappoint when it comes to the laughs and thrills expected.

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard will hit theaters nationwide on Wednesday, June 16.

All photos courtesy Lionsgate.