It hasn’t been that long ago that The Hitman’s Bodyguard was released in 2017, and I remember it being quite a pleasant surprise despite its inherent silliness. It’s a spoof of the buddy cop action comedy but with two bodyguards forming an unlikely bond of friendship between Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) and Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson). While it was enjoyable, I hardly think it’s a story worth revisiting but whaddayaknow, we end up getting a sequel/spinoff no one asks for, this time centering on Kincaid’s wife Sonia.
Despite having a ludicrous plot involving an Eastern European dictator (Gary Oldman), the amusing hilarity of the Reynolds-Jackson pairing were enough to keep me engaged with the first movie. Well, the sequel makes the first one seems much more sensible as director Patrick Hughes dials up the screwball comedy factor so far it’s off the chart. The tone is far more slapstick this time around with full on action from start to finish.
At the start of the movie, we see Bryce trying desperately to keep his bodyguard career behind him. His therapist urges him to be on a ‘violence diet’ which includes the no-gun rule, but of course, as soon as he goes on vacation, his past soon catches up with him, literally. The action is always loud, frenetic and violent, and you can practically describe Sonia (Salma Hayek) the same way. She suddenly shows up right in the middle of Bryce’s Greek holiday asking him to help her free Darius who’s taken up by mobsters. The hapless Bryce immediately gets dragged on by the persistent Sonia who does not take no for an answer. On their journey, they end up teaming up with Interpol (Frank Grillo, in his usual intense/angry mode) to help locate a megalomaniac Aristotle Papadopoulos (Antonio Banderas). Papadopoulos is a caricature of a Bond villain meets Onassis meets Liberace who’s hellbent on destroying Europe to avenge Greece for being imposed more sanctions.
Reynolds’s self-deprecating humor can be charming and he seems to relish being a suffering fool. He’s tossed around so much like a rag doll by his two co-stars it’s cartoonish. I read on IMDb that Hughes deliberately wants to put him through the wringer which explains the amount of suffering he’s put through here. But of course, much like most fantastical heroes like James Bond, John Wick, etc. Bryce seems to be indestructible as well as he survives multiple car crashes (and worse) and come out virtually unscathed.
Though the first one has some slapstick comedy elements, the sequel is pretty much all slapstick screwball stuff that rivals the Hot Shots or Naked Gun franchise. It’s as if the direction for the lead actors are to be as hammy and over the top as possible. It’s pretty typical to see characters insult each other in these types of comedies, but here Jackson and Hayek are downright mean-spirited at times, mostly directed at Reynolds. Just like the first one, wer’re bombarded by a deluge of F-bombs and bullets + explosions.
They also poke fun at themselves in egregious manner, which can be amusing and off-putting at the same time. Hayek’s obviously proud of her large boobs which are played for laugh so much here, as well as her heavy Mexican accent. She certainly looks amazing and looks to be enjoying herself playing the batshit crazy title character. Fans of Desperado would likely enjoy seeing her reunion with Banderas, though the plot is pretty predictable and farcical.
I think the one truly hilarious bit that actually got the entire theater laughing, which involves Morgan Freeman’s character. To say more about his character will be a major spoiler, but let’s just say he plays an important figure in Bryce’s life. During that scene, I thought how fun would it be to see Kevin Costner’s cameo, as the first movie used that Whitney Houston’s famous ballad I Will Always Love You from the 1992 movie The Bodyguard. Speaking of the cast, there are a bunch of good British actors like Richard E. Grant and Caroline Goodall who are thoroughly wasted which are par the course in a bombastic, big-budget action flick like this one.
The one major highlight for me is the beautiful locations: London, Italy, Croatia… clearly it’s like a free vacation for the cast. I was drooling over the Amalfi Coast scenery… so there’s that escapism factor. Overall though, this movie is pretty much a rehash of the first one, only much dumber with even more senseless violence + raunchy humor. In a way, Bryce’s extremely exasperated reaction to Darius + Sonia’s vulgarity is exactly how I feel about this clichéd + verbose movie. It’s not a long movie but by the end of it, I felt tired from both the non-stop action and the banal plot, which is made worse by a promise of yet another potential sequel [cue eye roll].