Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard: A film so bad it tests your faith in humanity

Now that cinemas are finally open, it’s hard to think of a worse way to mark the occasion

Salma Hayek and Ryan Reynolds in Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (2021)

Film Title: Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard

Director: Patrick Hughes

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Salma Hayek, Frank Grillo, Richard E. Grant, Antonio Banderas, Morgan Freeman

Genre: Comedy

Running Time: 100 min

Fri, Jun 25, 2021, 05:00

   

When did the fun go away? It’s not as if Samuel L Jackson’s patented shouty frustration and Ryan Reynolds’s perma-winking wise-cracking haven’t been ill-used before. 

Good actors can make bad movies. Salma Hayek appeared in Dogma and Wild Wild West in the space of one calendar year. Antonio Banderas sandwiched a career-best turn in Pain and Glory with the mouldy buns of Life Itself and Doolittle.  

And here comes Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard to test your faith in all of these stars and humanity in general. Three writers are credited with a screenplay that was assembled with scant regard for rhyme or reason, and that rolls out tropes that ought to be long-retired. Samuel L Jackson says “motherfucker”. A lot. Salma Hayek calls attention to her own breasts. A lot. Ryan Reynolds almost dies. A lot.

Random acts of gore – violent suffocation by plastic bag – jostle uncomfortably next to cartoonish brain splatterings. Mirthless comic set-ups – smoochy slo-mo reunion set to Lionel Ritchie’s Hello interrupted by Reynolds’s snark – are further punctured by anti-zingers. “He’s protecting my ass-et,” says an admiring Jackson as Hayek shimmies off into the distance.

In case you missed the eminently disposable, but vastly superior The Hitman’s Bodyguard from 2017, this unwelcome sequel reunites Michael Bryce (Reynolds), a suspended bodyguard with anal-retentive tendencies, titular hitman Darius Kincaid (Jackson) and Darius’s con-artist wife (Hayek). Their mission is to stop a megalomaniac (Banderas) with many embroidered jackets and slippers from destroying Europe. Or something. 

Random objects, including a mace, duly pop up in random European locations. Random misfortunes, including an infertility (?) subplot, pop up between random bad guys.

“Put the hood back on,” Reynolds pleads with a would-be kidnapper. A hood? The drowning parts of waterboarding might make for a welcome release from all the juvenile dialogue, terrible CG and disordered action scenes.

And just when you think it couldn’t put its cast to greater waste, here comes the Morgan Freeman cameo. Cinemas are finally open; it’s hard to think of a worse way to mark the occasion. 

Out June 21st