July 22, 2021

Couch Potato: Hitman’s wife’s bodyguard

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Tinashe Kusema

THERE is a time, in the not-so-distant future, that we shall all look back and marvel at the genius that is Ryan Reynolds.
The time and effort Reynolds put into convincing the powers-that-be at 20th Century Fox that Marvel’s motor-mouth, Deadpool, deserved a big screen adaptation is truly remarkable.

Add that to the nuances he brought to the role, and Reynolds should have his own place on the Mount Rushmore of cinema one day. But this is not an ode to Deadpool, the movie or the character.

Neither is it some sonnet to celebrate the Canadian’s acting prowess.

The truth of the matter is that anything Reynolds touches these days turns to gold. And, his latest offering “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” is a testament to that fact.

Yeah, over the years, the 44-year-old has produced some stinkers (think ‘Green Lantern’, ‘Just Friends’ and ‘R.I.P.D’), and it’s a miracle that throughout out all those flops he has managed to come out on the other side largely unscathed.
Now, the ‘Deadpool’ movie and its sequels will forever be remembered as his career turning point.

Everything he has done since has either made a ton of money, or has been loved either by movie critics or the audience.

A film or two has made lots of money and has been loved by both movie critics and the audience.

“The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” is one of those.

The film is a sequel to the 2017 smash hit “The Hitman’s Bodyguard”, and catches Michael Bryce (Reynolds) contemplating retiring from the life as an Executive Protection Agent.

Executive Protection Agent is just a fancy way of saying bodyguard. It is one of the many concessions one will have to make to fully enjoy this bonkers movie.

But more on that later.

Bryce’s last assignment protecting the infamous hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L Jackson) saw him shunned by the bodyguarding community, and lose his license.

After seeing a shrink, Bryce decided to go on a holiday to Italy, but gets hunted down by Kincaid’s wife Sonia (Salma Hayek).

She needs his help to rescue her husband, who has been abducted by mobsters.

Unfortunately, their rescue mission sees them stumble into an on-going Interpol case, in which the law enforcement agency is trying to thwart the possible terrorist attack to a European Union meeting by an eccentric Greek criminal Aristotle Papadopoulos (Antonio Banderas).

Can we pause just for a second and marvel at how ridiculous a name Aristotle Papadopoulos is for a Greek bad guy?
The writers could not have done any worse if they put a sign on Banderas that read “Greek Bad Guy” for the entirety of the movie.

Also, who has ever heard of a Greek with such a strong Spanish accent?

But, I digress!

Suffice to say, chaos ensues as Bryce and Sonya rescue Kincaid, and the three set out to stop Papadopoulos’s plan to sabotage the EU meeting. Spoiler-laden synopsis aside, “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” has all the
treats of the first film, and then some. By some, I mean some heavy swearing and screaming from Hayek’s Sonia Kincaid character, who was the breakout star of the first film.

This time, she gets a bigger role, and we are all blessed for it.

Reynolds and Samuel L Jackson once again prove to be quite the pairing, delivering both the comedic and action bits.

Their chemistry, as the bickering frenemies, is one of the film’s strong points, as each leans on his strong points.
Jackson screams and shouts his lines throughout the movie, something that adds to the irritation of Reynolds’ Bryce character.

Reynolds, for his part, is just Reynolds.

He does what Reynolds does, if that makes any sense at all.

Helping them along is a very strong supporting cast that includes Morgan Freeman like you have never seen him before, and the aforementioned Banderas.

I am intentionally leaving out the name of Freeman’s character, because its reveal is arguably the film’s best part.
Now, for the bonkers nature of the film. What makes “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” so special is that the film
does not take itself too seriously.

The plot is way too simple, and as such doesn’t really matter. What really matters are the running gags, the action, and Expendables-like cast and performances. In the old days, this is what we would call ‘blatant paycheck roles’ for the
films’ main actors (Reynolds, Hayek and Jackson).

The three either lost a bet, owed some Film-Exec a favor or simply got bored of tackling serious roles and wanted to goof off and have fun during the shooting of the first movie.

Unfortunately, the film made a ridiculous amount of money, and so Hollywood did what Hollywood does.
They demanded a sequel.

In an attempt to justify the sequel, and throw the audience a curve ball, Lionsgate (production company) probably then decided to sign on Freeman and Banderas.

Whatever the reason, or justification, we should all be thankful.

“The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” could very well be the sequel we didn’t know we want and need. During the Covid-19 pandemic years, where death is all around us, I think we all need some time to just switch off and relax.

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