Former AAA licensed bodyguard Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) hasn’t been doing so well after his time spent with hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) in 2017’s action-comedy “The Hitman’s Bodyguard.”  Urged by an exasperated therapist, Michael decides to go on a sabbatical free of violence, guns, and stress.  He’s barely into the first chapter of “The Secret” when his momentary peace is forever shattered by the wife of his former client, Sonia Kincaid (Salma Hayek).  Darius has been kidnapped, and Sonia pleads (demands) for Michael to help.  Mere minutes into the movie and it has already delivered on its title, but can it match the action and humor of the first?

The first movie rested heavily on the undeniable chemistry between Reynolds and Jackson, but as a whole suffered from a bit of an identity crisis.  The ridiculous scenarios and motivations the characters found themselves grappling with were played a little too seriously.   This time around, returning screenwriter Tom O’Connor and director Patrick Hughes ditch realism entirely and have crafted what amounts to a live-action cartoon for adults.  This time around the rabbit’s foot is a tech device that is so powerful, and so ridiculously implausible, that it would make the most hardened supervillain giggle.  Every individual we meet is a heightened caricature of a character.  Salma Hayek’s filthy mouth and terrifyingly short temper steal every scene she’s in.  Reynolds cycles between exasperation, comedic bodily injuries that would kill a lesser man, and bullet sponge.  Frank Grillo plays a rude, anger-prone, Bostonian currently working for Interpol who will do anything to be reassigned back to his hometown.  A silver-streaked Antonio Banderas plays the main villain with the delightful name of Aristotle Papadopolous who’s hoping to return Greece to its rightful place as a European superpower by destroying the technology backbone of the EU.  Tom Hopper even pops up as the epitome of the arrogant AAA British super-spy/bodyguard.  His name? Magnusson.  It’s clear everyone involved in this movie is having far too much fun.

This mix won’t work for everyone.  Like the first, the humor is callous and occasionally borders on cruelty.  The silliness sometimes crosses the line between mindless fun and knocking a few points off your IQ.  Most disappointingly, the climax begins to trip over its own tropes and cliches.  Still, there’s something to be said for a movie that revels in its own silliness.  If you’re in the mood for some mindless laughs at the expense of others, this is sure to fit the bill.

The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
3.5