The worst thing is when I write a review of a movie which was bad or just okay or maybe just exactly what you’d expect, and then it somehow gets eaten. I’m absolutely positive I wrote about The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard but somehow my text has vanished and it’s really not worth much time to recreate it. As I recall, I started by saying, “You could probably just read my review of The Hitman’s Bodyguard from a couple of years—wow, FOUR years—back and it would serve,” and this is true. This is basically more of the same, dumb, loud, silly nonsense featured in that film—and that ain’t bad.
The Flower went with me on this one—The Boy was a bit too busy with his new job and is also, post-pandemic, much harder to interest in anything that looks like typical Hollywood crap, even if it’s on the better side of porridge. It’s still porridge, and we’re so accustomed to it that even the slightest deviations from the norm feel kind of daring. For exmaple, this movie treats us to quite a few minutes of (plot necessary!) Salma Hayek wearing a halter-top. And somehow, in this “foil the male gaze” era, this seems incredibly edgy.
The last time I recall anything this rewarding to the male gaze in a mainstream Hollywood production, it was Megan Fox in the first Transformers movie, which came out before this blog started 15 years ago—and which Ms. Fox decided to denounce. (I know Ms. Johansson has decried the sexualization of the Black Widow character, but is there anything in any part of the Marvel universe that can match, e.g., the heat of fully clothed Catherine Zeta-Jones in Entrapment?)
Anyway, there’s some very mild and goofy stuff involving Morgan Freeman—the least of which being the idea that he could somehow thrash Ryan Reynolds—that also feels “edgy”, but that’s because this is where we are now: We literally cannot take a joke.
Point being, really, that we liked this movie. We forgot about it almost instantly, but when it is recalled to memory, it has a kind of pleasant, gauzy feel. It’s not quite as good as the first one, I don’t think, but I don’t really remember the first one much, either.
The premise, if it matters, is that Reynolds is a kind of loser bodyguard who has been thwarted at various times by an assassin, played by Samuel L. Jackson. In the first movie, the contrivance was that he had to protect Jackson. In this movie, it’s that he (sorta) has to protect Hayek, a psychotic murderer who desperately wants to have a baby and start family. I mean, she’s 54 and he’s 72, but biology (in any form) doesn’t play much a role in the plot.
Hayek, at one point, has to pretend to be English, which feels like a kind of lampshading, because her comically bad accent is comparable to Antonio Banderas’ Greek accent—which sounds amazingly like his regular ol’ Spanish accent. Now, I’m actually up for whatever as far as accents go—I think it’s sort of silly, e.g., that everyone has to have a British accent in these big dramas like Rome or Game of Thrones—and I thought this was kind of cute.
The Flower and (mostly) I were talking on the way to the theater about how even the lower budget older movies—talking now about the ’80s and ’90s—had a sense of weight, of reality, of gravity, that newer ones do not because you quickly realize that nothing you’re seeing is actually happening. Joe Bob Brigg’s “The Last Drive-In” featured, for example, Maniac Cop 2 last season and there’s a bit where a guy gets punched through, like, six cubicle walls—and we found ourselves marveling that some stunt guy had to actually be yanked through those (fake) walls. The Barbarienne is big into the ’80s Little Shop of Horrors and re-watching it myself, I’m blown away by the “realism” of the giant, talking plant.
As we had explosion after explosion in this flick, with flaming barrels dropping all around, I couldn’t help but think “back in the old days, the actors had to DUCK if they didn’t want to get hit by the explosions”. It’s okay here, because this is a silly movie and meant to be fun and funny and unreal, but we would do well not to lose the vast body of technology that the FX guys of past decades built up—before it all came down to computer nerds, making elaborate SFX on their computers before the movies are even scripted (as in the MCU).
Basically, if you liked the first one, you’ll probably like this. If not, well, it’s a bunch of swearing, killing and not nearly enough Salma Hayek to make up for that.