A shot in the arm

THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD (15, 100 minutes)

You know how action sequels usually work, throw a load of money at the screen and hope some of it sticks, turn your characters into even bigger clichés than before in an increasingly unlikely set of scenarios and hey presto, you have a Die Hard 4, Lethal Weapon 3 and 4, Rush Hour 2 or, heaven forbid, a Kingsman: The Golden Circle.

That’s certainly what I expected from this pandemic-delayed follow up, especially given the reaction of some other critics who completely slated it.

I can only assume they had undergone a sense of humour bypass during lockdown

All of the above sequel ingredients are utilised here, but somehow (maybe my expectations were low in the first place), rather than leaving one feeling they had wasted over an hour and a half they are never getting back, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is a thoroughly enjoyable, harmless piece of throwaway entertainment that, for its running time, raises some real belly laughs thanks in no small part to expletive-heavy dialogue that has been tailored to fit its stars like a pair of Jimmy Choos.

Bodyguard Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) and hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L Jackson) are thrown back together on another mission. Still unlicensed and fresh out of therapy, Bryce is forced into action by Darius’s even more volatile wife, international con artist Sonia Kincaid (Salma Hayek). As Bryce is driven over the edge by his two most dangerous protectees, the trio get in over their heads in a global plot and soon find that they are all that stand between the EUand a vengeful megalomaniac (Antonio Banderas).

A sub plot of Sonia wanting a baby (Hayek is 54 years-old, Jackson, 72) is fertile territory for some great lines such as: “Any child would be so lucky to have you as its host” and “Thank you. It must be your powerful asexuality that makes you such a good listener.”

And what about that three up front forward line? Reynolds and Jackson are allowed to be everything one expects from them, but it’s Hayek who really shines as the Mexican firecracker with an explosive hair trigger temperament and “a mouth that needs an exorcist”.

On paper, none of The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard should work, but after a year and a bit of having nothing to laugh about, this riotous comedy with the added bonus of bullets and blowing stuff up is just what the doctor ordered.

My doctor anyway.

RATING: 7/10

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]