Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L Jackson, Salma Hayek, Antonio Banderas, Morgan Freeman, Frank Grillo, Richard E Grant, Caroline Goodall, Gary Oldman
Directed By: Patrick Hughes
Where I Watched It: HBO MAX
English Audio Description Available?: Yes
The Plot: A bunch of Hollywood executives saw the box office results for The Hitman’s Bodyguard and decided to try and turn it into the next buddy cop type action franchise. True to form, a third is added prominently into their dynamic, giving Salma Hayek more screen time than in the first film. And, because talent was inexplicably drawn to the franchise, Antonio Banderas is here to play the villain, a Greek named Aristotle, and there’s a whole subplot about retrieving a device, and trusting on criminals to save the world… and didn’t I just watch F9?
What Works: Salma Hayek. I’m positive she hasn’t had this much fun in years, if possibly ever. It’s this kind of loose unbridled performance that comes either from a director telling you “whatever you want”, or sheer happiness from landing the biggest paycheck of your career. one of those things probably happened, because Hayek is so on point. She’s hilarious. She makes what would have been a completely unnecessary sequel somehow moderately relevant because she didn’t get near enough attention in the first entry.
Aside from Hayek, you have Jackson and Reynolds playing the exact same structure as before, which if we are honest, was already largely just based around certain caricatures of these two actors. It’s the Jackson that didn’t want snakes on his motherfucking plane, and the Reynolds who plays essentially Deadpool without a mask. It’s the version of these actors we’ve been conditioned to believe is what we love and expect from them, so if you still love standard Jackson and Reynolds, this film doesn’t disappoint.
What Doesn’t Work: Unfortunately,, Antonio Banderas isn’t having nearly the same amount of fun, nor is he chewing as much scenery as Gary oldman did in the first entry. It seems like he showed up as a favor to Hayek, and he doesn’t get the general vibe of the movie. Banderas has managed to pull off comedy before, he just takes a bland villain and makes him even less interesting.
In fact, the actual plot to the film feels like it came from some sort of plot generator, that’s how incredibly generic the grand plan feels. I miss the days when villains suddenly felt innovative, and had different reasons for wanting to destroy the world. Now, it seems like we’ve exhausted all avenues, and this film didn’t even try.
They knew you were coming for laughs, and because you liked the first film, and the stars. Well, the first film actually had a plot structure. That’s why this series exists, because the first film built a world for us to live in. The second film just coasts, and the best it has to offer is putting Reynolds in an existential crisis and have his AAA bodyguard license revoked, and put Jackson and Hayek into “lets start a family” mode. Will the third film be a relaunch of Spy Kids?
But I have to hand it to the crew of the film, who weren’t sure if their film was going to be rotten or fresh, and in the films final moment threw an ending that is so fundamentally idiotic, it’s hard to believe there’s a critic out there that gave this a thumbs up. in fact, It you cut the last 60 seconds from the film, I’d go with a C+, because the three main stars were entertaining enough.
But I know those writers, and Mr Patrick Hughes knew that ending was the mdumbest possible way they could end that film. Yeah, it’s a twist… of sorts… but sometimes a twist is still stupid, even if you didn’t see it coming. If I’m watching a romantic comedy, and suddenly right at the end of the film, both characters get struck by lightning and die, I’m not going to remember that film fondly.
And I will not remember the ending to this film in a positive light either.
The Blind Perspective: I’m sure there was audio description. I remember it…kinda. Like, when there were some action sequences. But the leads in this film talk so damn much, I honestly reached this point, and I can’t really concretely remember the actual audio description. I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing.
Final Thoughts: it was mostly what I expected, a film that relied heavily on Jackson and Reynolds to just keep doing what they did in the first film, but with giving Salma Hayek more to do. But in the process, they forgot that movies can be interesting beyond the lead characters cracking jokes, and gave no real attempt to make a plot that didn’t feel like you had seen it a thousand times before, or write a villain for Banderas with some kind of a personality. He’s Puss In Boots, after all. He knows how to deliver a punchline. This film did so poorly at the box office, I know there won’t be a third, but if there was, I’d be deeply concerned based on how this movie mic drops and walks away.
Final Grade: C-