I am worried about Ryan Reynolds. I think he might be worried about himself, too. With all of the side companies he seems to be involved in, hawking everything from gin to mobile phones, he must be unsure as to whether or not he can keep getting roles in films. That is, of course, outside of playing Deadpool. But that is the problem in my view. I found the first Deadpool movie entertaining, if vulgar. The second had a heart, but was kind of more of the same. I know he will be in more, and I have read in places that Marvel is planning to make his ubiquitous character the new Stan Lee, meaning he will be showing up in cameos throughout all future Marvel movies. As a Marvel fan, I can see this being mildly funny until it gets old. As somebody who wants to see other good movies, I am afraid that Ryan Reynolds will just go on playing the same person in every motion picture in which he appears from here to eternity. In this light, here is my review of The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard.
In The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) is a bodyguard who takes his job seriously. We know this not because anybody truly remembers this film’s predecessor, The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017), a thoroughly forgettable buddy action flick. No, as the sequel starts, we are treated to Bryce dreaming about being honored as his company’s employee of the year. It turns into a nightmare when his “buddy” from the previous movie, Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) appears amongst the guests at the AAA function (no clue what the letters stand for), laughing derisively at Bryce being awarded, and murdering somebody Bryce was meant to protect. I guess this is supposed to catch you up on past events? I mean, I saw the previous movie but have since forgotten ninety-five percent of it. At any rate, if you do not get the dynamic involved a couple minutes into the principal characters meeting each other, then I do not know what to tell you as they beat you over the head with it throughout the film. Moving on, Bryce’s therapist (Rebecca Front) recommends that he take a break from bodyguarding in order to get his mind off of whatever it was that happened in the last movie that caused him to lose his bodyguarding license. He agrees, and decides that he will not use guns or do any kind of violence while he lounges on the island of Capri. Unfortunately, he is found there by Sonia Kincaid (Salma Hayek), Darius’ wife and just as dangerous of a killer in her own right. She needs him because she believes Darius asked for him before he had been captured by a small-time gangster named Carlo (Miltos Yerolemou). In turn, Carlo is working for a bigger Greek crime boss going by Aristotle Papdopolous (Antonio Banderas). His laughable grand design is to collapse Europe so that Greece can once again be the cultural center of the Western World. It is James Bond meets Saturday Night Live in its ludicrousness. Little does Papdoplous (I refuse to use the famous Greek philosopher’s name more than is necessary) know that Carlo is an informant for the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), and he is going to make a buy for the man investigating Papdopolous, Bobby O’Neill (Frank Grillo). This plan is ruined, though, when Bryce and Sonia shoot their way through Carlo and his men in rescuing Darius. Now O’Neill turns to them to make the buy instead, a foolish act of desperation that is meant to keep a key piece of technology out of Papdopolous’ hands. When things inevitably do not go as intended, Bryce turns to his step-father (Morgan Freeman), for help. Though Bryce and the Kincaids (band name!) arrive at a safe house thinking they are safe, they are quickly captured by Papdopolous’ men and taken to his estate. Once there, we discover the he and Sonia had a history, and given that Darius had been lying about aspects of their relationship (namely his infertility, a whole distracting subplot that goes nowhere in the end), she seemingly decides to switch to Papdopolous’ side. I wish there is a more subtle way of putting all this, but that is one thing painfully lacking in this movie. Hence, surprise, surprise, when Bryce and Darius escape and go after Papdopolous, she is trying to undermine him all along. Another obvious twist is that Bryce’s step-father is working for the Greek crime lord. Anyway, gunfire, explosions, blah, blah, blah. Papdopolous is thwarted and it ends with Sonia finally getting the “child” she always wanted by adopting Bryce.
Mostly I hastily wrapped up my description of The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard because I got tired of writing Papdopolous. Going into it, I thought it was going to be the title that would get annoying to type. It is cumbersome to say. The film is proof that if you give people enough money, they will do almost anything. It is also meant to be a comedy, and while I think classic Looney Tunes cartoons are funny, I do not feel it works in live action. At least that seemed to be the kind of humor for which it is reaching. Here is a quick inventory of the awful things that happen to Bryce: he is ran over twice by a car, takes a shotgun blast to the chest, unknowingly ingests lithium given him by Sonia as a pain medication, is tranquilized, finds out the step-father he once idolized thinks he is a joke, and he does not get his cherished job back by the end. If this is not, basically speaking, the equivalent of Wile E. Coyote having an anvil dropped on his head, then my memory is faulty. Those statements are not mutually exclusive, but you get the idea. In Bryce’s extreme emotional and physical pain, he decides that he wants to do cocaine. While he never finds any (thankfully), this is also presented as meaning to be funny. The same thing is done in Deadpool 2. Call me a square Catholic, but I do not find the humor in such things. In sum, I spent most of the film bored, not laughing, and waiting for it to end.
If there is the tiniest part of The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard to latch onto (until it falls completely on its face in the end), it is the “spiritual awakening” Bryce seeks. For Catholics, both lay people and religious, this is something we seek throughout our lives. The Faith life, unfortunately, is not a straight path upwards to God. There are peaks and valleys, and we are encouraged to go on retreats at times in order to find a recharge. At least that is what Bryce is attempting at the beginning. He hopes that by doing so he will gain a new perspective on his job, and thus a clear pathway back to his post with AAA. Yet, the misadventures he goes on with the Kincaids teaches him that sometimes things do not work out as we intend but that you have to make the best of it. It is a tired, worn-out cinematic theme. Still, it bears mentioning that where we start with our Faith lives does not always go the expected way. Ask a priest or a member of a religious order whether or not they thought they would be in that position before taking their vows, and many of them will probably say no. The trick is obeying God’s will, which is not easy, but always a worthwhile endeavor. I cannot say that is precisely what Bryce does, particularly with ending up getting adopted by the Kincaids.
Either way, I stand by my point!There is nothing special about The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard. If you have seen Ryan Reynolds in other movies, you have seen him in this one. The same can be said for Samuel L. Jackson and Salma Hayek. They also seem to revel in saying the curse word that I will not repeat but has become attached to Jackson. Between that and the violence, it earns its R rating. In short: do not bother.