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Popcorn With Zenger: ‘Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard’ Is A Film That Doesn’t Need To Exist

Sequel's main selling point is its shorter runtime than the original.

It is difficult to understand or explain why the “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” even exists.

2017’s “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” was a film about a superstar bodyguard (Ryan Reynolds) playing a game of one-upmanship with an elite hitman (Samuel L. Jackson). It was a mild box office success that didn’t receive very good reviews from critics or fans.

This was an action movie dragged down by its own selfish need to be a comedy. So why did Lionsgate believe it deserved an over-bloated sequel? Your guess is as good as anyone’s, especially if that guess is money.

Salma Hayak gets more screen time in the sequel, but does nothing with it. (Lionsgate)

The Story: Following the events of the last film, Michael Bryce (Reynolds) has lost his AAA rating and can no longer live his ideal life as an elite bodyguard. He decides to go on a sabbatical until it’s interrupted by Sonia Kincaid (Salma Hayek), who asks for his help to rescue her husband, Darius Kincaid (Jackson), who has been kidnaped by an unknown group of terrorists.

The duo is no better at getting along than they were the first time around, but they have something to gain: Michael wants back into the bodyguard ranks and Darius wants to have a child with Sonia. However, shipping tycoon and international terrorist Aristotle Papadopoulos (Antonio Banderas) has plans to destroy the entire infrastructure of the European Union, and if our makeshift team of heroes can’t stop him, no one is getting what they want.

Bright Spots: The absolute best thing anyone can say about “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” is that it is 20 minutes shorter than the last film. Plus, cinematographer Terry Stacey did a good job highlighting luxurious European locations.

Weak Spots: Unlike “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” which attempted to toe the line between action and comedy, the sequel decides to go all-in on modern Hollywood screen-written comedy, which turns out to be a disaster for everyone involved.

Ryan Reynolds (Michael Bryce) and Samuel L. Jackson (Darius Kincaid) in “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard.” (Lionsgate)

Much like the first film, you can only get so many laughs out of dropping F-bombs before you realize you don’t have much else to work with. When you have an R-rated film starring Jackson, expletives are mandatory, as if they were written into the contract.

But it’s not Jackson or Reynolds who drag this film down. That honor goes to Hayek. She only had about 5 minutes of screen time in the first go-round; this time, she gets a lot more — and does nothing with it. When Hayek isn’t finding a way to awkwardly shove her breasts in the face of the viewer for comedic effect, she spends most of the time running away and screaming expletives in a way that is neither funny nor convincing. Imagine a 2-minute bit that stretches on for 100 minutes, and you can imagine how enjoyable this film’s best moments are.

None of the characters here are very likable, and they aren’t funny enough to excuse that. The plot doesn’t make the basic attempt to justify its existence, as the story is entirely based on one big misunderstanding — or what most normal people would label lazy writing. What makes matters worse is that none of the secondary characters have any impact on the story. Frank Grillo, Morgan Freeman and even Banderas fail to make any positive impact, let alone a memorable one.

The writing is even more unbelievable when you consider it took three people to do it. Tom O’Connor returns with an assist from screenwriters Brandon Murphy and Phillip Murphy. If you ever needed to know how many people it takes to screw in a light bulb, you just got your answer, and it’s depressing.

The Takeaway: There is no proper justification for this film to exist. The first film wasn’t very funny and the second doubles down on everything that didn’t work the first time around. Lionsgate’s A-List cash grab is a highlight reel of the worst of what Hollywood has become: a masterclass in soulless, cheap and uninspiring dreck.

See or Skip: “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” is the absolute worst movie to recommend to anyone with a shred of hope left in Hollywood’s ability to make a good comedy, or a good action movie for that matter.

(Edited by Matthew B. Hall and Kristen Butler)

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