By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)

Even though I moderately enjoyed The Hitman’s Bodyguard, I felt that the writing and direction withheld the movie from hitting “11” on all cylinders. To its benefit, the comic timing of both Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, along with their lovely chemistry, make it a much better movie than it probably deserves to be. For the sequel, the previous film’s director (Patrick Hughes) and lead writer (Tom O’Connor) have returned, but with some help by Brandon and Phil Murphy.

I honestly don’t know if the Murphy’s contributions made the big difference, but this sequel has actually exceeded my expectations. The filmmakers and stars of this wilder, more over-the-top, ride have turned the knob way past “11” into OVERDRIVE and deliver what I feel is a thoroughly entertaining popcorn action/comedy. Is it sometimes stupid? Yes. Is it often obnoxious? Yes. However, the movie’s ridiculousness and absurdities genuinely make for a crazy good time at the cinema.

Ryan Reynolds reprises his beloved role as Michael Bryce, a former bodyguard with a suspended licence who honestly dreams of getting his AAA guard licence again, but must cope with the reality of his situation. While vacationing, in an attempt to forget his woes, Sonia Kincaid (Salma Hayek), disrupts his attempt at a peaceful “R&R” and begs him to help her husband Darius (Samuel L. Jackson) who has been abducted by gangsters. Now, even though Bryce had vowed to give up the old life, he simply cannot let an old friend/client down. Of course, Bryce gets in way over his head now that he must contend with the crazier Mrs. Kincaid in addition to Darius. Things get especially complicated after they inadvertently disrupt Interpol’s operation to stop the evil plot of shipping tycoon Aristotle Papadopoulos (Antonio Banderas).

Now I know for sure that not everyone will enjoy this movie. It has a certain quality that toes a very fine line between a little too much and way too much. It will definitely be too obnoxious, too ridiculous and over-the-top for some audiences. As for me and others who don’t mind a little excess when it comes to intentionally ludicrous and cartoonish comedies, this movie will be an absolute blast. Certainly it is a dumb, silly comedy, but the actors who show tremendous skills with comic timing and improvisation, along with the movie’s craziness all actually succeeded in making me laugh heartily.

Ryan Reynolds, of course, is fantastic as Michael Bryce, a straight-laced, anal-retentive, but nevertheless skilled bodyguard who wants the opportunity to redeem himself worthy of AAA status. Samuel L. Jackson is an absolute natural when it comes to his no-nonsense, balls-to-the-wall turn as Darius Kincaid. The lovely Salma Hayek goes crazy over-the-top and caricaturesque as Darius’ loving, but insane wife Sonia. In addition to the returning cast members, the movie features wonderfully entertaining and sometimes wild performances by Antonio Banderas, Morgan Freeman, Frank Grillo, and Richard E. Grant.

This is one of those movies that I wouldn’t recommend rushing to the theater opening day to see, but would be perfectly enjoyed at home. However, if one is a massive fan of the first movie, than I would encourage those people to buy tickets ASAP, buckle up in the theater, and prepare for an even more hysterical ride than the one offered in the first installment. Be sure to pair with a big bucket of delicious popcorn.

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