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Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard, The
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by Peter Sobczynski

"A.K.A. This Movie Can F--- Itself!"
1 stars

Last week saw the release of “In the Heights,” a film that almost seemed to have been designed specifically to lure moviegoers back into the multiplex after a long pandemic-inspired hiatus with a riot of humor, drama and music presented in a manner so exciting and energetic that viewers will be instantly reminded of the glory of seeing a top-notch movie presented in all of its big-screen glory. This week, on the other hand, sees the release of “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard,” a film that seems to have been created as part of a diabolical plot to convince people to stay at home and never return to theaters again. I suppose there is a chance that a worse film than this one could come along sometime in the next six months but if another one somehow comes along that demonstrates a greater contempt for both the cinema as a whole and its audience than this one does, I may have to begin contemplating a career change of my own.

As the ungainly title sort of suggests, the film is a sequel to 2017’s “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” and if you are drawing a blank about the particulars of that film, don’t worry about it—no sentient human being remembers it at all with the possible exception of the bean counters at Lionsgate, who were presumably thrilled when it overperformed during a less-than-competitive box-office period. In other words, this is a film that has no reason to exist other than the fact that the first one made a lot of money. Sure, that is the reason why many unnecessary sequels get made but this is an example of one that doesn’t even attempt to disguise these mercenary impulses. Hell, even something as useless as “Now You See Me 2” comes across like “Before Sunset” when compared to a craven pile of shit like this.

I take it back—there is one other reason for this movie to apparently exist and that is to give returning co-stars Samuel L. Jackson, Salma Hayek and Ryan Reynolds the chance to fart around in Europe for a few weeks on what I can only presume was a highly paid working (for lack of a better term) vacation. What passes for a plot kicks off with one-time top-rated bodyguard Reynolds trying to regain his standing following a job gone bad when Hayek, the tempestuous wife of his rival, top hitman Jackson, recruits him to rescue her husband from other bad guys. (Turns out Jackson wanted anyone else but him—ho ho.) All of these bad guys are killed off quickly enough but, for reasons too dumb to get into here, this means that they are now recruited by a renegade federal agent (Frank Grillo) to take part in an operation to bring down a Greek business tycoon before he can destroy the EU and return Greece to its former position as the true center of the world. Oh yeah, the Greek tycoon—whose name is Aristotle Papadopolous, no less—is played by none other than Antonio Banderas, in what I can only assume is his misguided tribute to the likes of Anthony Quinn and Raf Vallone, two actors who played Greek characters in their careers without actually demonstrating any overt signs of Greekness.

That is probably not true (Banderas probably just wanted a holiday as well) because if it were, it would demonstrate a modicum of wit that is nowhere to be found elsewhere. Instead, returning director Patrick Hughes is content to subject viewers to an array of seemingly endless, artless and pointless action scenes that have been frantically edited in a desperate attempt to suggest a kind of energy that is otherwise not to be found. The humor—this is supposed to be a comedy, after all—is reduced to a series of punchlines in which something blows up or someone yells a string of expletives for no apparent reason. (Hayek also gets to indulge in the kind of crass hot-blooded mamacita cliches that she has spent her entire career trying to avoid.) A couple of other familiar faces turn up in brief parts but they go about their business in such a lazy, going-through-the-motions manner that it hardly seems as if they bothered to pick up the script before the cameras began rolling. Of course, in this case, that was perhaps the wisest move.

Fuck “The Hitman’s WIfe’s Bodyguard.” Fuck every stupid, inane, vulgar contemptuous frame of this giant piece of shit. Fuck everyone who signed up for this thing without even having the good graces to try to make something that anyone could possibly stand by with something resembling pride. And while I cannot imagine too many people leaping to this turkey’s defense, fuck anyone who tries to defend it by saying that it is just meant to be fun and that it isn’t supposed to be Shakespeare. This is the kind of film that is so bad that if you discover that someone you knew actually enjoyed it, you should seriously consider doing a thorough reevaluation of that particular relationship.

I guess what I am saying is that “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” has a few flaws.

link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=34443&reviewer=389
originally posted: 06/18/21 00:04:06
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USA
  16-Jun-2021 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  16-Jun-2021




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