As far as R-rated comedy sequels go, this one’s mean and obnoxious.
The original “Hitman’s Bodyguard” from 2017 was a guilty pleasure of mine. I didn’t view it as a laugh riot the way everyone else did. I viewed it in the sense that Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson had better chemistry than Zac Efron and Dwayne Johnson did in “Baywatch,” and there were some entertaining moments and a hot soundtrack with hits from Foreigner, King Harvest, and Lionel Richie, etc.
In August 2017, the movie ranked #1 at the box office three weekends in a row, and so there had to be a sequel with two apostrophe marks in the title: “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard.” I can already tell by its trailers, that it’s going to be a disaster, and as I attended the Friday night screening of it, I realized it is. As an R-rated comedy sequel (and I differentiate sequels into various categories), it’s loud, noisy, obnoxious, mean-spirited, dumb, cheesy, and unnecessary-probably the worst since “Horrible Bosses 2,” which some of you may remember had Chris Pine bashing his face on a desk. Listening to Reynolds, Jackson, and Salma Hayek reprise their roles with an aggravating attempt to improve on their characters made me want to hit my head against a wall.
There are only two celebrities who actually try to do us a favor. Morgan Freeman tells the two male leads not to argue in his home, while Antonio Banderas slaps Hayek in the face. I’m against men abusing women 100%, but I just couldn’t take her character anymore. Trust me, these Banderas and Hayek have worked better before in “Desperado” and “Puss in Boots,” among others.
Reynolds is back as disgraced bodyguard Michael Brice, who must go on a sabbatical in order to clear out his stressful past with assassin Darius Kincaid (Jackson). Then, comes Darius wife Sonia (Hayek), who saves Michael from gunmen, and she’s the only one willing to kill the bad guys, since he can’t kill anyone. And so, she yammers on and on and on, telling Michael that Darius asked for him. And when they do find him, he says: “I said “Get anyone BUT Michael Brice!” This means they’re back to their usual bickering.
Then comes Frank Grillo (whom I almost always love) as a jerky Interpol agent from Boston, who just wants to get back to his city, and is willing to have Michael, Darius, and Sonia help him with a life-threatening situation. The Banderas, who will eventually slap Sonia in the face, plans to upload a virus that could wipe out most of Europe. And as in the first movie, they find themselves with more assassins, more violence, and more arguing. Michael still goes through the car window, while Darius and Sonia still make out like crazy. They both want to have a baby, and that’s when the bodyguard says: “May God have mercy on your soul.”
The audience at the screening were laughing, but I was left with a look of distain on my face and a headache in my mind. It’s totally understandable why they would laugh. Because the comedy has to be awkward and appalling. I can pretty much guess some of the jokes, so I didn’t laugh. Maybe I did smile. But I was also left pondering if director Patrick Hughes’ replacement was David Leitch, who helped bring Reynolds’ wisecracks to new heights in “Deadpool 2” or maybe Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who both admired the sequel genre with “22 Jump Streets.” Both these R-rated comedy sequels were smart, funny, and entertaining, whereas “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” tries to outdo the wretched excess of the original by being meaner.
All these actors are some of my favorites, but as Richard Roeper once said: “Maybe they all lost some sort of bet.” And as for Freeman, one of the greatest actors ever, hasn’t made a single good movie since “The Lego Movie” and “Lucy.” Somebody better fire his agent right now!
Special 7PM screenings tonight in various locations
Opens Next Friday Everywhere