Ryan Reynolds, Salma Hayek and Samuel L. Jackson in The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (Photo: Lionsgate)

THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD
★★ (out of four)
DIRECTED BY Patrick Hughes
STARS Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson

Some movies you just want loud. Whether it’s a Star Wars or a Lord of the Rings or an MCU entry, there’s satisfaction in watching the film in the comfort of your local multiplex — or, if you will, your own living room — and listening to the award-worthy sound via Dolby, DTS, or the audio component of your choice.

Here’s the thing about The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard: It’s loud. Very loud. And not loud in an appreciable way, with cool lightsaber zaps or T-Rex roars coming at you from all directions. It’s loud because the actors spend the vast majority of the running time screaming at each other. Sure, sure, there are the rumblings caused by the usual car chases, gun battles, and explosions found in this sort of film fodder, but at this point in our cinematic lives, these often pass by us as white noise. Instead, it’s the constant shrieking that defines this movie. And it doesn’t need to be channeled through a grade-A sound system — the yelling is so intense that I expect it would manage to come through even if this were a silent film.

A sequel to 2017’s midrange hit The Hitman’s Bodyguard (reviewed here), this again finds Samuel L. Jackson as the hitman and Ryan Reynolds as the bodyguard, with Salma Hayek (who had a small role in the original) adding to the merriment as the wife. Having been stripped of his bodyguard license, Reynolds’ Michael Bryce is forced to give up his career and actually is adjusting to a peaceful life until Hayek’s Sonia Kincaid comes guns a-blazing into his life. She needs his help in rescuing Jackson’s Darius Kincaid from a gang of mobsters. They succeed, but then everyone starts yelling at each other.

Salma Hayek in The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (Photo: Lionsgate)

After this lengthy opening salvo, the main plot fully kicks into gear, with the trio being asked by Interpol to prevent megalomaniacal Greek tycoon Aristotle Papadopolous (Antonio Banderas) from destroying Europe. Papadopolous is basically a combination of Aristotle Onassis, Liberace, and a Bond villain — while that mash-up sounds promising in theory, he actually proves to be a dull bad guy. At any rate, Bryce and the Kincaids do their best to stop him, yelling at each other along the way.

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (alternately Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard in advertising and on the website; even the studio can’t decide whether to include the “The” in the title) gets personal with a subplot about Sonia’s desire to become a mom. This allows Bryce to get off one great zinger (“She’d make a terrible mother; I wouldn’t even trust her to take care of a Chucky doll”) and also provides the film with an amusing closing gag. Indeed, these interludes might be the best in the film — everyone still yells, only not quite as much.

Jackson, so vibrant in the first film, is this time overshadowed by Reynolds, who milks his character’s sad-sack status for all it’s worth. Hayek also notches a few choice moments here and there, and she plays well off both Jackson and Reynolds. Overall, though, this is a tedious picture, and we can only hope we’ll be spared another sequel in The Hitman’s Wife’s Babysitter’s Bodyguard or, conversely, The Hitman’s Wife’s Divorce Lawyer’s Bodyguard.

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