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‘Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard’ Whacked by Critics as Irrelevant With ‘Lazy Comedic Instincts’

The film hits theaters June 16

While critics agree that “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” might offer the entertainment of watching Samuel L. Jackson swear incessantly, the film’s reviews suggest that the film’s lack of a plot is not made up for through its stale and overused humor. 

Reviews from early Wednesday agree that the sequel to the 2017 film “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” has even less going for it than the original — besides the fact that it opens during a time when audiences are eager to head the movie theaters after a long haitus.

TheWrap’s own Alonso Duralde wrote, “’Hitman’s Wife Bodyguard’ is a comedy with not one legitimate laugh, and an action movie where cars keep blowing up while the A-listers yell at each other, as though that were inherently amusing or entertaining. It’s a film that’s both frantic and listless; the overall impression is one of movie stars screaming their lines before returning to their vacations in picturesque Italian settings.”

However, some positive reviews mentioned the charisma of actors Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, with the addition of Salma Hayek, whose character was introduced in the first film but becomes a core character in the sequel. Additionally, despite criticisms of overdone comedy, critics expressed their appreciation for the film’s loose ties to real-world politics that were a refreshing take on the typical “evil” plot line of most action films.

In addition to Reynolds, Jackson and Hayek, the film includes industry veterans Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman and Antonio Banderas. Patrick Hughes returns to direct the second film in the franchise.

Check out “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” for yourself when it opens in theaters Wednesday, June 16.

See the eight reviews below.

David Ehrlich, IndieWire:

Terrible green screen, globs of digital blood, and record-scratch sound effects in place of actual jokes are only potholes along the road for a summer movie that knows what it is, and is slightly less afraid to embrace that than its previous iteration was. If “what it is” would be unsatisfying in a more creative era of popcorn cinema, well, not even the finest bodyguard in the world can protect us from the threat of mediocrity.

Matt Goldberg, Collider

I would be genuinely surprised if “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” had a screenplay. It plays more like it had a rough outline where characters are directed to various locations and then you just let everyone riff and drop in a line or two explaining why they’ve traveled to some new European locale. There’s not a lot of effort put into plotting here because you’re not coming into this movie for plot. You’re coming to watch Ryan Reynolds be sarcastic, Samuel L. Jackson to say “motherfucker” a lot, Salma Hayek to be fiery, and Antonio Banderas to be suave. 

Josh Spiegel, /Film

Here, swearing is like breathing, or more accurately, it’s used in place of actual jokes. Jackson’s character Darius mocks Michael, Michael mocks Darius, they yell at each other, Sonia shouts a bit too, and so on and so on. Though this movie is mercifully 20 minutes shorter than its predecessor, it’s just as endless. These people would be hell to be stuck with on a long road trip.

Molly Freeman, ScreenRant

“Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” is overall a perfectly serviceable action-comedy, effectively balancing its two genres well. But like The Hitman’s Bodyguard, the movie’s strength is really in its stars, with Jackson and Reynolds buoying the first film with their enemies-to-buddies storyline and near-constant quips. Adding a fresh element to Michael and Darius’ dynamic for the sequel is the proper addition of Sonia, who was introduced in the first film but wasn’t a core member of the team.

Scott Mendelson, Forbes

I again appreciated that the film’s evil plot was loosely connected to real-world politics. It’s a nice change from “trying to control the world’s information” or “trying to destroy the world to prevent climate change.” Alas, this bigger-budget follow-up, with an even splashier cast, pushes the tone so egregiously toward farce that it undercuts both the present-tense narrative and the events of its predecessor.

Tim Grierson, ScreenDaily

“Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” is the sort of picture that responds to even the slightest hint of sincerity with sarcasm, juxtaposing intense fight scenes with cheesy pop songs on the soundtrack for cheap laughs. The idea is to mock the pretentiousness of action films, but what it mostly does is underline the sequel’s irrelevance and lazy comedic instincts.

Patrick Cavanaugh, Comicbook

With three leads as charming as the ones featured in “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard,” it’s hard not to like seeing them getting caught in one another’s crossfire, in ways both literal and figurative. The slightly altered dynamic created by Hayek elevates the material from its predecessor, while the shorter run time also adds more urgency to the overall experience.

Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

Characters are done dirty in this follow-up feature. Instead of being the surprisingly sage font of wisdom that Darius was portrayed as in the first film, he’s done a 180 degree pivot into toxic masculinity, lying to wife Sonia for the primary purpose of an orchestrated plot device, mocking Michael’s therapeutic coping mechanisms, vulnerabilities and psychological disorder.