Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard (2021)

Director: Patrick Hughes

Running Time: 100 Minutes

Certification: 15

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Salma Hayek, Frank Grillo, Antonio Banderas, Morgan Freeman, Richard E. Grant, Tom Hopper, Kristofer Kamiyasu, Caroline Goodall, Alice McMillan

At a loss as he remains unlicensed, Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) decides to quit the bodyguard business and take a holiday. These plans are thrown into disarray by Sonia Kincaid (Salma Hayek), a volatile con-artist who needs Bryce's help to save her husband, hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson). The trio become wrapped up in a global plot, standing between Europe and a powerful terrorist.

Four years after The Hitman's Bodyguard was released, its sequel arrives with double the apostrophes yet the same goal seemingly in mind - coast on the star's personas. Much like the predecessor, Reynolds and Jackson don't seem invested in the bare material they have, so cruise on their usual shtick in tiresome ways. Thank goodness for Salma Hayek injecting such life and energy into her performance, making her presence sorely missed when not on-screen.

The remaining cast feel underserved, with Antonio Banderas deserving more to chew on in the villainous role, while Frank Grillo sporadically appears as a plot-device talking about Boston. Morgan Freeman's inclusion just pads out the runtime, which isn't good when things are already overstuffed. Between handing out unnecessary backstories and shoehorning in a final battle or two for each core character, there's too much going on.

Most unfortunate is how this action-comedy manages to not elicit thrills or laughs over 100-minutes. Neither genre feels effectively captured, with a combination of shaky camerawork, frantic editing, and stale humour butchering any hopes. As it turns out, the title was an effective mirror of the film's messiness. Perhaps it's best to end these adventures, before we get The Hitman's Wife's First-Cousin's Dog's Bodyguard.

The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard is available in cinemas now