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Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
I cannot say I was really jonesing for a sequel to The Hitman's Bodyguard, the entertaining but totally forgettable 2017 action flick in which Ryan Reynolds plays a bodyguard charged with protecting Samuel L. Jackson's hitman on his journey to testify against a dictator. The two leads return here, as does Salma Hayek, for a violent, profane second chapter that feels like it could have been made a decade ago thanks to some outdated and underwhelming humor. Reynolds and Jackson obviously have success in comedic and action roles, but Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard is the kind of loud, generic action film that is destined for cable TV. Patrick Hughes returns to direct but leaves little impression, and the film's three screenwriters struggle to mix action, drama and comedy into a cohesive whole. Perhaps the most memorable part of the film is Hayek's potty mouth, which is used to one-up Jackson in the F-word department.
On the verge of retirement from the bodyguard life, Michael Bryce (Reynolds) is contacted by Sonia Kincaid (Hayek), who needs his help saving her husband, hitman Darius Kincaid (Jackson), who has been kidnapped by the mob. Michael and Sonia recover Darius, but are then pressured by Interpol agent Bobby O'Neill (Frank Grillo) to help him take down international criminal Aristotle Papadopoulos (Antonio Banderas) in lieu of being turned in for their numerous crimes. After that we get some action, some double crossing and a little bit of Morgan Freeman, who shows up as Michael's old-school bodyguard stepfather. During their initial reconciliation, the film throws in plenty of jokes about Senior and Junior's disparate races; and this type of humor proves to be the lifeblood of this underwhelming action comedy.
A couple of years out from The Hitman's Bodyguard I cannot remember more than the premise of that film. A couple of days out from watching Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard, I can barely remember the beats of the 100-minute film. There is plenty of stuff going on, some decent locations, and a couple of halfway amusing comedic bits, but this movie is so damn generic that none of it makes an impact. But if random headshots, plenty of expletives and a couple of crass jokes are your thing, then you may get more out of this empty action overload than I.
The plot is obviously not of much importance here. The early rescue mission turns into the hunt for Papadopoulos, which leads to a number of uninteresting character revelations. The action and narrative are frenetic at best, and it is clear even the filmmakers are not necessarily taking themselves seriously. There is a plot point about sanctioning Greece that is somewhat interesting, but that is lost among the juvenile humor and nonstop bloodshed. Reynolds appears to be tugged along reluctantly here, and at some points the actor appears less than enthused to be in this fluff. Jackson, Hayek and the supporting cast are similarly unimpressive, and those looking for a good ensemble action-comedy-thriller should check out something that does the group thing right, like Knives Out.
THE 4K ULTRA HD:
Lionsgate provides an expectedly polished 2.39:1/2160p/HEVC/H.265 transfer with Dolby Vision and HDR10 from a native 4K source. Highly detailed and impressively deep, this digitally sourced image pops in 4K. Terry Spacey's cinematography is a highlight, and there are some gorgeous location and landscape shots. The film tilts toward yellows and oranges, and the HDR grade provides some gorgeously saturated, but not overdone, colors. Black levels are strong, shadow detail is abundant, and highlights remain in check, even in sunbaked, outdoor shots. I noticed no issues with compression artifacts or aliasing.
The Dolby Atmos soundtrack that I sampled as a 7.1 Dolby TrueHD mix is similarly impressive, and no one will accuse this 4K of not supporting this raucous production with symphonies of sound that blaze through the surrounds and rattle the subwoofer. Dialogue is clear and balanced appropriately with effects and score, and those looking for realistic gunfire, explosions and hand-to-hand combat thunks should enjoy this track. Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks are included, as are English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:
This two-disc set includes the 4K, a Blu-ray and a digital copy. The discs are packed in a 4K case that is wrapped in a glossy slipcover. Bonus content includes Ryan, Sam, Salma: One F'd Up Family (9:09/HD), about the cast; Gone Soft: The New Michael Bryce (7:22/HD); Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard: #stuntlife (7:47/HD), about the action sequences; On the Set of Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard (4:02/HD); a Gag Reel (4:40/HD); and Theatrical Trailers (4:41/HD).
A doubly forgettable sequel to a forgettable film, Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard offers generic action, juvenile and stale humor, and a talented cast with not much to do. Skip It.
William lives in Burlington, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.