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  Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard They Think It's Clever To Swear
Year: 2021
Director: Patrick Hughes
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Salma Hayek, Antonio Banderas, Morgan Freeman, Frank Grillo, Richard E. Grant, Rebecca Front, Blake Ritso, Tom Hopper, Gabriella Wright, Caroline Goodall, Alice McMillan, Dragan Micanovic, Gary Oldman
Genre: Comedy, ActionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) used to be a bodyguard with a triple A rating from the board that judge such things, but ever since a tussle with hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) that much-desired award has been taken away, and with it, all shreds of his confidence. He has a recurring nightmare where he is humiliated at the Bodyguard of the Year show, and has decided to get professional help from a psychiatrist (Rebecca Front) who advises him to forget the bodyguard line of work seeing as how it causes him so much stress, and instead try for a holiday. How about Capri? Like the pants. However, the life of violence tends to follow him about...

Released to even worse reviews than the first movie, The Hitman's Bodyguard, this sequel represented mid-range studio Millennium trying one of their most desirable goals: the franchise. Set up by an ex-producer from that cult eighties outfit of fly by nights and cowboys Cannon, Millennium was the closest thing the twenty-first century would get to that revered (and lampooned) studio of old, specialising in action flicks and cash-ins with as many big names as they could muster on a medium budget, and the first instalment in this series had done pretty decent numbers for them, profiting from post-Deadpool Reynolds goodwill from the audiences around the world.

The Samuel L. Jackson goodwill was a given, but it had taken Reynolds a while to secure his treasured status, and if this was the sort of thing he was using it for then he better not rest on his laurels. Fortunately for him, 2021 was also the year he had a major hit with another comedy action movie, Free Guy, and people seemed to like him in that, but to be honest he was not doing anything much more different here, coasting, yes, though with at least an impression of having a fine old time as he did so. This was not the type of movie that won awards, from the bodyguard's association or otherwise, and viewers would be unlikely to listen to the critics on this one.

Unremittingly shrill as it was, it did stage some CGI-assisted stunts that grabbed the attention, and every so often there would be a not bad line or image that prompted a genuine laugh. These old pros had a semblance of chemistry that smoothed over some pretty bumpy plotting and a tone that invited you to chortle any time anyone got shot, which given they were usually anonymous henchmen was intended to be forgivable (the Anonymous Henchman of the Year awards would be very light on attendees that year). We were supposed to be invested in Europe threatened by that most famous son of Greece, er, Antonio Banderas (who cares about the accent, eh Antonio?) who has a thingummyjig that will explosively knock out the continent's power. He is doing this as revenge on the EU for imposing sanctions on Greece when it messed up its finances, so this was nothing if not topical.

For a decade ago. Anyway, you were not here for politics, you were here for Salma Hayek's cavernous cleavage, swearing every other line and things blowing up real good, on which count you had to admit it delivered. Sometimes you just needed something crass to watch, something you could sit through without a modicum of thought, and Ryan and company were here to accommodate you with the whole affair pitched to eighties kids who would have grown up seeing the Cannon logo at the start of countless VHS tapes. Yes, it was stupid, but you can't watch difficult Polish chamber pieces all the time, and this fit the bill as resolutely non-taxing. Although the subplot about husband and wife Sam and Salma trying for a baby did bring up a slightly uncomfortable matter, as though she was very well-preserved, giving birth was presumably way behind her by now. That aside, just sit back and let the daftness wash over you. Music by Atli Orvarsson. Ailso is not a traditional Scottish girl's name, incidentally.

[The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard is out on digital, DVD, Blu-ray and 4K UHD now.

Click here to watch the trailer.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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