In my review of the last Hitman’s Bodyguard, I pointed out how I didn’t like Salma Hayek’s character as the hitman’s imprisoned wife. Well, that apple’s now on its head. … Yeah, I need to come up with better comparisons. Here, she’s out of prison and alongside the blokes, showing just how much she can offer alongside the already dynamic duo of Reynolds and Jackson.
It’s been a little while since Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) reunited with Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson), to bodyguard him rather than to confront him with the hole of his pistol. Now Darius and his wife Sonia (Salma Hayek) are on a honeymoon, but Bryce in the meantime is down on his luck. Bodyguarding is all he knows, and just when he got back into the groove in the last movie, his license to bodyguard has been rescinded, currently under review, with little hope he will successfully get back in. Just like in the start of the last movie, he is traumatized by the idea of not being a bodyguard and not being a success.
His therapist recommends going somewhere peaceful for a little retreating. Michael also begins writing letters to his future self. Ever done that? I have. It can seem silly but the stories that stem can be fascinating. It’s not long though, before Michael’s noise-cancelling headphones are flung off his ears by Sonia, gunshots going off all directions. Turns out Darius was kidnapped, apparently by either Aristotle Papadopoulos (Antonio Banderas, who is as over the top as that character’s name) or someone affiliated with him. Something’s happening with sanctions from the UK on Greece, but what’s more important is now it’s up to Michael, Darius and Sonia to do some deadly infiltrating.
It’s not too long before the star of the show, which is not the plot but the chemistry between the superbly comedic whackamoles as they curse, insult and injure each other, whenever they’re not gunning down bad guys like venison in hunting season. And boy is there a lot of hunting. Like Deadpool, Reynolds helms a production gleeful with the gore. More than once is he splattered with not just blood but unidentifiable guts. In other words…very similar to the last movie.
So, the main question is, what’s the real difference between this and the original? This movie goes two steps forward, two steps back, which is why I’d put it on the same level as the first. I’ll begin with the step back, cause I usually do that when setting a positive light. Banderas’ Papadopoulos, is a major step down from the previous antagonist Gary Oldman brought forward in the first one, not performance wise but plot wise. There is a tiny mention about his anger alongside others in his country about the sanctions against Greece, but there’s pretty much no information whatsoever about why these sanctions are in place and truly what kind of impact they’re having. It’s easy to let your imagination loose, but considering what he wants to pull as revenge, more info about exactly why would’ve helped. It’s true, Oldman’s character wasn’t given a real backstory either, but the brutality he displayed was chilling enough to make him a bad guy we were excited to see go down. Banderas’ character feels just like a prop for the plot. Also, I don’t understand why Amelia from the first movie, Bryce’s ex-girlfriend, wasn’t brought back for this one. Felt like a slice was missing from the pie.
So what are the steps forward? How much more Hayek is able to do with the character of Sonia, plus the further development of her romance with Darius. Don’t get me wrong, this movie turns anything but sappy. Bryce would be unable to disagree with me even with a gun to his head. Sonia and Darius definitely bring out the best in each other when they’re excited for a bang. They will be on each other like wasps and rotting fruit, even when in the middle of dozens of armed well-dressed losers. The next thing it improves on is some twist-ups. The first movie had a clever turnaround nearing the climax I never saw coming, and this movie has a fair bit of twists I really didn’t see coming, like the history between Banderas and one of the main heroes, who Morgan Freeman’s character is, moles within the good guys and bad guys, and a secret Darius is keeping from Sonia that actually majorly involves Bryce. That last one ends up leading to a conclusion I never saw coming and laughed out loud at the idea of. It just fits so perfectly into this kind of movie.
Other than those few things switching it up, this is pretty much the same movie as its predecessor, a hamburger movie that’s, as I said in the last review, familiar, unsurprising, and messy when you eat it, but tasty, filling and comforting. The first one got extra points in my book than the usual movie of its type for having a great antagonist, and this one gets the same points for a fair few twist-ups. And they both really rise for the chemistry between not just the leads, but the script they’re working with. The dialogue never feels unnatural or awkward in the hands of these A-listers. Maybe this movie didn’t even need to be made. You could’ve just filmed the cast devouring themselves at an improv club.