Here’s the tiresome follow-up to the tiresome action comedy with the tiresomely (and unfunnily) muddled premise: bodyguards generally protect people against hitmen and hitmen generally don’t need bodyguards as they’re not publicly visible … but that wasn’t the point. Anyway, here’s the sequel with the extra-clumsy double-possessive in the title.
Ryan Reynolds is back as Michael Bryce, the former triple-A rated bodyguard, now haunted and traumatised by his professional failures, and by his association with the notorious assassin Darius Kincaid, played by Samuel L Jackson. Michael is stripped of his “licence” to practise bodyguarding and is now in therapy; but just as he decides to take a restorative European break by the pool, Michael gets sucked right back into the melee by Kincaid’s badass wife Sonia, in which role Salma Hayek is once again phoning in her hellcat routine. So the wacky trio are back together again, Reynolds getting whatever laugh lines there are going, as he is bemused and depressed by the situation that this couple have put him in, though not as bemused and depressed as all of us in the audience.
They find themselves up against Greek supervillain Aristotle Papadopoulous, played by Antonio Banderas with such an uncompromising refusal to do a Greek accent that at first I thought it had to be some kind of gag. The idea is that he will use a super-strong drill to damage the underwater junction box that holds the data for the European Union’s computer systems, as a revenge for the EU beating up on his home country. (This would have been topical around the time of the “Grexit” row of 2012.) So we have loads of Euro-locations and loads of car chase scenes through picturesque tourist cities, with cars lumbering down crumbling stone steps and at one stage even smashing through the traditional fruit-stall. There are also some weirdly pedantic references to the Goldie Hawn comedy Overboard, perhaps to pre-empt objections to possible plot-borrowings.
To add to all his anxieties, Michael is also afflicted by feelings of inferiority in comparison with his stepfather, a legendary veteran bodyguard: a great big comedy cameo for a big name who is entirely wasted in the part. There are some almost-laughs here and there, but please tell me that we aren’t in for The Hitman’s Mother-In-Law’s Agent’s Bodyguard in 2023.
• The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is released on 18 June in cinemas.