This might be the only time in Hollywood when the bean counters who insist on making a sequel to a successful movie take a breath and listen to the people who pay money to see movies.
The successful movie of course refers to “The Hit Man’s Bodyguard,” a movie that made good bank and pleased the viewers. Oddly, the most liked character is the one inhabited by Selma Hayek. In the first film, she had a small role as the hit man’s beautiful, passionate wife. Here she plays the title role. She is the star. Hmm. Maybe Hollywood occasionally gets something right.
Australian director Patrick Hughes also directed the extravagantly fun first film. Watch for him in a cameo as Bouncer. Like Alfred Hitchcock, he likes to be in his own films, even for a few seconds.
The rest of the cast comes from Hollywood royalty. Samuel L. Jackson returns as the hitman and Ryan Reynolds comes back as the bodyguard. Reynolds has made a place for himself in film history in his two (so far) appearances as “Deadpool.”
Antonio Banderas helps out as does Morgan Freeman. I like watching both of those actors whenever I can see them. Rounding out the list of the famous we have Gary Oldman, briefly reprising his role in the first film.
We can find nothing in the least serious in the film. The plot makes no sense (Greece tries to destroy Europe) nor does a lot of the plot threads. Stuff happens because the movie guy wants things to happen, like jumping off a high cliff into the sparkling water in Capri just off the Blue Grotto. But it moves along at a sprightly rate.
And all along the way, bad guys get shot. Or occasionally bashed with a mace. Or stabbed. Or blown up in some spectacular way. In one sequence the heroes flee across a high bridge while a helicopter chases them, firing explosives. The grenades strike an articulated gasoline truck, which naturally explodes in a huge fireball, wrecking the bridge but somehow allowing the good guys to escape. Silly stuff but loud and colorful.
I tried to keep track of the body count but totally lost it after about 15 minutes.
This film, filled with lighthearted mayhem and murder runs for 1 hour 39 minutes. It carries a hard R rating for carnage and terrible language. The common folk who buy movie tickets like this one a lot more than the critics. Except for me. I liked it enough to give it three saw blades, a nice score for a sequel. Sometimes when the temperature hits 102 degrees you just want to stay cool and watch cars blow up. And laugh. I laughed at the absurd antics of the players, a good thing.
The producers pulled back the budget from the nearly $70 million of the first film to a more affordable $50 million. I bet they get their money back and then some.
In movies these days we have something the industry calls product placement. As an example, we almost always get to see the Apple logo when we see a computer in a movie. The movie guys get a financial consideration for placing that product in the movie. Here, watch for Reynolds to smash some bad guy in the noodle with a bottle of Aviation American Gin. Yep, Aviation American Gin is a celebrity brand owned by Reynolds himself.