Michael Bryce and Darius Kincaid are back, marking the return of summer action and adventure at the movies.
One unexpected side effect of quarantine (for me, at least) was content fatigue - specifically, streaming content fatigue. At first, I was excited to use my newfound free time to catch up on all the movies and shows I had missed. But once I finished Tiger King, I just couldn’t seem to commit to anything new. I was so overwhelmed by the number of choices that I ended up watching the same things over and over again. With new movies and shows coming out every day, there’s pretty much an infinite number of choices. It’s now more difficult than ever for filmmakers to get us interested in their projects (not to mention, getting us to sit through a feature-length movie). But if there’s one technique that’s still a sure-fire way to gain attention from a mass audience, it’s star power. There are certain names that are sure to get millions of clicks on a streaming site - and now that theaters are opening again, those names can also get us out of the house and into a theater seat. An all-star cast can give a formulaic sequel like The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard the leg up it needs to attract a crowd, even if that crowd probably won’t come back for a second viewing.
Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, and Salma Hayek all return in The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, a follow-up to the 2017 action flick, The Hitman‘s Bodyguard. Morgan Freeman and Antonio Banderas also join the cast for this comedic, crowd-pleasing sequel. Reeling from the loss of his body guard license, Michael Bryce (Reynolds) decides to take a sabbatical and try to discover himself on a much needed vacation. But just as he’s settled into his beach chair, the bodyguard lifestyle pulls him in once again. International con woman Sonia Kincaid (Hayek) recruits Michael to rescue her husband, hitman Darius Kincaid, from the mafia. But in doing so, Michael finds himself caught up in a much larger plan to stop super-villain Aristotle (Banderas) in his attempt to dominate Europe. Polar opposites Michael and Darius once again find themselves working together to thwart the plans of a power-hungry menace. But this time, Sonia comes along for the ride. With two volatile criminals to protect (who are also madly in love and trying to make up for their ruined honeymoon), Michael has his bodyguarding work cut out for him.
It really is the amazing cast that makes The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard work. There’s a reason audiences are willing to pay to see stars like Jackson, Reynolds and Hayek do comedy together. Without these personalities, the flick couldn’t expect to succeed. There are plenty of easy, predictable jokes written into the script, so it helps to have a recognizable cast that knows how to put on a good show. As in the first movie, Jackson and Reynolds play off of each other to enhance the humor. Hayek adds her unabashed directness to the mix, switching up some of the punchlines and jokes so that the sequel is at least a little different than the first one. In a humorously crude and easy-going flick like The Hitman‘s Wife’s Bodyguard, these familiar stars make us feel right at home.
The movie is neither subtle nor surprising, but it’s still satisfying. It gives us exactly what we want when we want it, never missing an opportunity for a joke or action sequence. It hams up the emotional moments to get in a few more easy laughs. It’s not a memorable comedy, but it has what it takes to make us laugh. The plot moves from one exciting interaction to the next, keeping us entertained throughout. It’s not complex, but it’s not boring either. We can kind of figure out the next punchline and maybe even guess a plot twist or two, but that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy it when we see it. Following the conventions of action comedies, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard has everything it needs to satisfy an audience that’s come to the movies to enjoy an easy-going summer flick. If you’re looking for an exciting action movie to see in theaters after over a year of closed doors, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard isn’t a bad choice.
In theaters June 16, 2021
"Our embodied spectator, possibly perverse in her fantasies and diverse in her experience, possesses agency...finally, she must now be held accountable for it."