Review: 'Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard' badly misses its target

Sequel to 2017's 'The Hitman's Bodyguard' is a thoroughly unlikeable exercise in annoyance.

Adam Graham
Detroit News Film Critic

Brash, obnoxious and totally lacking in whatever charm may have existed in its predecessor, "Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard" is a headache, a reminder — just as we're getting back in the habit of going to the movies — of how annoying bad movies can be.

Ryan Reynolds (he's the bodyguard), Samuel L. Jackson (the hitman) and Salma Hayek (the hitman's wife) return in this sequel to 2017's "The Hitman's Bodyguard," not that many people were clamoring for a return engagement. And as they team up again, it's mostly to yell obscenities at each other, or to have others yell obscenities at them while bullets fly around their heads. Spend a mercifully short 100 minutes with this crew and you might be grumbling a few obscenities to yourself on the way out of the theater. 

Ryan Reynolds, Salma Hayek and Samuel L. Jackson in "The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard."

Michael Bryce (Reynolds, in snarky Ryan Reynolds mode) is now without his bodyguard license, and longs for its return. (The movie opens with him literally dreaming of winning the award for Bodyguard of the Year.) The moment he goes on a vacation to ease his mind from the tensions of the protection business, he's interrupted by Sonia Kincaid (Hayek), who drags him into a hail of gunfire as she looks to free her husband Darius (Jackson), who has been captured by bad dudes.

A bunch of explosions and a few dozen motherbleeping curse words later, the gang is reunited (yay?), and is mobilized by a foul-mouthed Interpol agent (Frank Grillo) to take down an international shipping tycoon, Aristotle Papadopoulos (Antonio Banderas). Cue more swear words, more bullets and a handful of jokes about Hayek's breasts.

It all feels like a live-action cartoon, with a script punched up by giggling 7th graders, heads buzzing off of root beer at a friend's sleepover.

It's hard to invest in any of the characters, since none of them feel the least bit real, and the situations cooked up by screenwriters Tom O'Connor, Brandon Murphy and Phillip Murphy are straight from the Looney Tunes playbook. (At one point, Sonia plows into Michael with a car, causing him to flip in the air, and he walks away unscathed one scene later.) Returning director Patrick Hughes overestimates the love for his trio and forgets to make any of them likeable. As a result, "Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard" comes off just as smug and crass as its characters. Cancel the hit. 

agraham@detroitnews.com

@grahamorama

'Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard'

GRADE: D

Rated R: for strong bloody violence throughout, pervasive language, and some sexual content

Running time: 100 minutes

In theaters