In the same spirit as the Austin Powers sequels, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is almost an exact replica of its crowd-pleasing predecessor that repeats similar jokes and plays on a heightened version of the dynamic that made the first film so memorable. And while a sequel can usually be grilled on repeating itself, this second round is strictly here for entertainment value; knowing exactly what it wants to set out to do and still delivering laughs and exciting action sequences.
Through a laborious and convoluted plot, this sequel reunites disgraced bodyguard Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) and wisecracking hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) along with Darius’ short-tempered, previously imprisoned wife Sonia (Salma Hayek). The unlikely team is forced into a “hail mary” plan proposed by elite law enforcement to reel out nefarious activity by villain Aristotle Papadopolous (Antonio Banderas, with as much surface-level development as Gary Oldman’s villain had in The Hitman’s Bodyguard). This should be “just another gig” for Darius and Sonia, but they feel nothing but indifference towards their mission. These anti-heroes are madly in love with each other, but can’t see past their own selfish desires in the face of danger – placing Michael “by the book” Bryce in constant uncertainty and hilarious peril.
The lead actors know they’re playing towards their usual type, despite replaying their original characters, which is still okay considering their comic timing and chemistry. However, Jackson’s performance doesn’t quite exhibit the same fantastic element from the first film that elevated the action-comedy genre with romance; though he is funny in The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard. This downgrade may have happened because more focus is directed on Hayek’s brash character which, admittedly, isn’t as interesting of a personality compared to Darius’ slickster.
But despite the odd dip in the story, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard still satisfies with its thrills and slapstick. Even though this sequel may be sillier than its predecessor, the R-rated comedy and action succeed nonetheless because of the likeable performances, the humourous editing style by Michael J. Duthie and Jack Hutchings, and the off-the-wall vision from returning director Patrick Hughes. I hope Hughes, and the rest of his team, continue to add to this fun franchise.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie