Michael Bryce is back, Jack! And boy is he still a bodyguard (kinda). Reeling from the events of the first film, Michael is on a spiritual journey. Too bad, cause in crash the Kincaids who get him entangled with all kinds of bad stuff, including a dastardly plot by Aristotle Papadopoulos. Can they stop him before it’s too late? Find out in… The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard.
How?! Michael Bryce just can’t get his mojo back. Despite saving the day in the first film, he has struggled to retain his AAA bodyguard license. A vacay is in order to get his head on straight. But suddenly he is whisked away from his Italian paradise by Sonia Kincaid and roped into helping him free his old frenemy Darius. Things immediately go sideways, though, when it’s revealed that they’ve stepped into the middle of a sensitive Interpol investigation of a plot by a Greek mastermind to take down the European power grid and sow chaos as revenge for Greek sanctions (I know, I know, no one cares, neither did we). Anyway, in exchange for them not all going to jail they agree to help entrap the Greek tycoon. Darius and Sonia are fighting the whole time and Michael is whining/unconscious like 50% of the time and basically they are in a load of trouble so Michael turns to the only person he knows that could help: his father. His father is a total bodyguard legend and their relationship is strained since he doesn’t really think Michael is very good. Despite this his father agrees to help and sends them on their way. But oh oh! It’s a trap! They are captured by the terrorist who is revealed to be an old flame of Sonia’s, Aristotle Papadopoulos. Sonia turns against them in favor of Aristotle (oh no!) and so we are back with out buddies Michael Bryce and Darius Kincaid at last. The dream team is back! They don’t give up and infiltrate Aristotle’s yacht where he is drilling into the power grid. They stop the drill, Michael takes down his father in a bodyguard battle, and Kincaid kills Aristotle. All in a days work for our favorite comedy-action duo. THE END (or is it? (probably… right?))
Why?! Money… oh, you mean within the film. This is actually the biggest problem with both the first film and the sequel. They feel the need to go in depth with some pretty dumb and not funny in the slightest set-ups. I think maybe the joke is just how seriously they take going through the minute details of how Aristotle wants to get back at the EU for sanctions by taking down the power grid and creating a hotbed for riotous violence. Or maybe it’s not a joke and they really did feel like they needed to explain all that. Regardless I didn’t care. Bryce wants to get his AAA rating back and Kincaid just wants to have fun… oh and Sonia wants a baby. Great.
Who?! The director Patrick Hughes shows up in a cameo, which is always fun. What’s also fun is that after making (the real bad) Expendables 3 as his directorial debut he proceeded to strike gold with the hitman theme with these two films… so much so that his next film is called The Man From Toronto and no joke appears the be basically the same film. A jokester teams up with an assassin. Wow.
What?! Always fun when a product placement gets some play in the film reviews. Here there seems to be some grumbling about Ryan Reynolds’ gin brand Aviation Gin being shown a surprising number of times in the film. I didn’t notice nor did I know he had a gin brand, but now that I know it’s my new gin of choice (I don’t really drink gin).
Where?! There are a few different settings but the primary one is Italy. Really solid Italy film as they do appear to jet set across the country without ever totally leaving it. They of course have to keep telling you where you are in Italy since they mostly didn’t film there. Lots of Croatia standing in for Italy which tells me one thing: Croatia is beautiful. B+
When?! Always very difficult when we watch something live. Can’t pause it as I stare closely at a screen trying to discern whether a hospital admission form says 8/2006 or 3/2006 or whatever. So I can’t really remember if there was anything specific about the time of year and I don’t remember a holiday being mentioned. Gotta give it an F for now.
I actually really enjoyed the first film quite a bit. The buddy cop (ish) set up was fun, Ryan Reynolds had some interesting quirks to his characters, and Sammy L. was refreshingly lively. My big gripe was that the entire set-up made no sense and was unnecessary garbage that they could have hand waved away but instead did the exact opposite by going into even more details (that made even less sense). But still, enjoyable time at the cinema. Unfortunately they didn’t get the memo that the fans just wanted them to roll it right back and give them more of the same. Slop that basic plot back into my trough, please. But alas, instead they made Bryce all weird and angsty (and mostly unconscious), had Kincaid barely speak to Bryce, and ratcheted up the Sonia to an 11. Kinda gummed up the works. Add on top a somehow even more convoluted and unnecessary plot and I guess I was surprised at how disappointed I was… just run it back! But no. That would have been too easy. At least I got to sit in a theater and watch it. That was fun… everyone else seemed to be having a fine enough time so that’s nice. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! We’re back at it with some BMT Live!!!!!!!! Let’s go!
P’s View on the Preview – I had figured originally that The Hitman’s Bodyguard was a play off of a very specific subgenre of bodyguard / assassin films. It kind of is and kind of isn’t. The more interesting thing after watching the original is that the director described Ryan Reynolds’s character as a “endlessly suffering fool” which … is not at all what he was in the first film? That certainly didn’t bode well. What were my expectations? I guess for it to be the same film as the original but minus the few scant laughs which made that film merely mediocre instead of bad.
The Good – I think there is always room for silly comedy-genre films. In this case it is mostly a comedy-spy film in a way? It is okay at being that. There are car chases, and European vistas, and a bad guy who wants to do some nonsensical scheme, etc. etc. It has the pieces to do the things it needs to do to be the thing it wants to be. If this was the first film in the series it wouldn’t necessarily have been good, but without the context I also think it is a bit better than it actually is. Best Bit: Vistas.
The Bad – This is the worst of all possible worlds for a sequel to a movie that was actually pretty fun in my opinion. The first floats completely on the charming interactions between frenemies Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, it has a few solid laughs, and is pretty fun. The second instead decides Ryan Reynolds is a doofus, and (no offense to Salma Hayek) inserts a weird foil right in between any amusing interaction between the two leads (the only good part of the first film!). The plot ends up convoluted as well, with an insane plot to destroy Europe involving a deep sea drill and a computer virus. I hated this film. I understand why people would like it, but I hated it. Fatal Flaw: The anti-Hitman’s Bodyguard, somehow the antithesis of that somewhat charming film.
The BMT – I think this might be one of the finer examples of the people involved in a film managing to completely misunderstand what made the original good. They managed to lean entirely into the wrong thing (Ryan Reynolds’s character getting injured) and away from the very easy right thing (Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds banter). I really don’t get it. Did it meet my expectations? It exceeded them. I would have assumed the film was just call backs and boring nonsense (like Zoolander 2 for example), but instead it is a pretty amusing example of production dropping the ball on a successful comedic conceit.
Roast-radamus – I think there is a strong argument for Planchet (Who?) for Ryan Reynolds in this one, which is bizarre to say, but he kind of exists only so that Hayek and Jackson can dunk on him while the plot happens around them. Obviously a ton of Product Placement (What?) for things like Aviation Gin and various car brands. A great Setting as a Character (Where?) for Italy in particular which this film is predominantly based. A solid MacGuffin (Why?) with the undersea electricity junction off the coast of Italy where a diamond-tipped deep sea drill is going to plant a virus and destroy Europe. And finally a crazy Worst Twist (How?) for the very obvious “Hayek and Jackson are going to adopt Reynolds at the end” that you could see coming from about half hour away. As one can tell from this list of superlatives this is closest to BMT.
Sequel, Prequel, Remake – You want to hear my plotline for a Remake? Let’s see how we can fix this disaster. What made the first film great? The banter between Reynolds and Jackson. So jump forward a year, Jackson is still a hitman, and feels obligated to help out Reynolds because he saved his life (it’s the Hitman’s Code or whatever). So Reynolds has been using him to help him in his business, Jackson will take out hitmen who are trying to get his high profile targets, and Reynolds has now shot to the top of the Best Bodyguard list for 2021. But as Jackson has been warning Reynolds, he probably shouldn’t be helping Reynolds out so much because other hitmen aren’t going to take kindly to one of their own helping out a bodyguard. Thus a big hit is put out on Jackson, and so he needs a bodyguard to help him get to the main Hitman Headquarters to plead with the Head Hitman for leniency. Bing bang boom, we are back with the same rough conceit as the first film, except building out the bodyguard-hitman fictional universe a bit. In the end, naturally, it turns out the Head Hitman was the one who put out the hit, and Reynolds and Jackson need to kill him first to save Jackson. And in the end Jackson becomes the Head Hitman with Reynolds realizing that he needs to go his own way without Jackson’s help in his bodyguarding duties, it is the true bodyguard way. Simply called The Hitman’s Bodyguard 2.
You Just Got Schooled – Quick one to review The Hitman’s Bodyguard which I’ve been talking about a lot in the recap already. The good is that the leads are very charming and the banter between them is pretty amusing. The European setting works well, and I got a few good laughs out of it. The bad is mostly that the film is a bit long (two hours which is at least 15 minutes too long) with maybe one too many action scenes, especially near the end of the film. I’m not surprised it was quite successful, but as should be obvious, I was quite surprised that they decided to bring in good-in-small-doses Hayek character to the forefront in the sequel. Anyways, a solid B comedy I think, I would have been pretty delighted to watch this on an airplane for example.
BMT Live Theater Review – We were back in theaters masked up in an almost entirely empty auditorium. There isn’t much to say, I checked out an Odeon in South London and was pretty impressed with the facilities overall. It was a giant auditorium which made it kind of sad to watch a movie with like twelve other people, but there is still a pandemic going on, so what can you do? One thing I will say is this: my god movies are loud in theaters. I think since I haven’t been in one in over two years I forgot about that. Insanely loud at times. B+ I liked the theater, but am starting to get ready to see some weird horror film in a packed house again.