The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 8/17/21;
Lionsgate;
Action Comedy;
Box Office $37.74 million;
$29.96 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray, $42.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for strong bloody violence throughout, pervasive language, and some sexual content.
Stars
Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Salma Hayek, Antonio Banderas, Frank Grillo, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman.

The sequel to 2017’s The HItman’s Bodyguard, like its predecessor, is an affable actioner that coasts on irreverent humor and a solid cast that appears to be having fun with the proceedings.

Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard looks in on disgraced personal bodyguard Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) who is having nightmares about Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson), the notorious hitman from the first film he was tasked with protecting against agents of a European despot he was set to testify against.

As a result of those events, Bryce has been refused recertification by the bodyguard licensing agency, and is instructed by a therapist to take a long vacation to put thoughts of violence behind him. His sabbatical to a tropical beach is short-lived, however, when he is recruited by Darius’ wife, Sonia (Salma Hayek, who gets to expand her small role from the first movie) to help rescue her husband from an international cartel.

Extracting him embroils the trio in a larger plot involving a Greek shipping magnate and criminal mastermind (Antonio Banderas) who seeks revenge against the European Union for imposing economic sanctions on Greece.

As pressure on them mounts from the Interpol agent (Frank Grillo) overseeing the operation, Bryce turns to his stepfather (Morgan Freeman) for help, which only gets them into more trouble.

Another subplot involves Sonia and Darius trying to have a baby, but her loyalty is called into question when it turns out she and the tycoon used to be an item.

What the film lacks in subtlety it makes up for with inventive mayhem and bloody action juxtaposed by the odd couple relationship between the Kincaids, who seem to enjoy unleashing casual violence on their enemies, and Bryce, who insists on tackling the mission without killing anyone or even using a gun.

As with the first movie, the breezy attitude of Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard makes it a fun diversion, but it’s unlikely to have much staying power after the credits roll.

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The Blu-ray includes a five-minute gag reel and several good bonus featurettes, including the nine-minute “Ryan, Sam, Salma: One F’d Up Family,” the seven-minute “Gone Soft: The New Michael Bryce,” the eight-minute “#stuntlife” and the four-minute “On the Set of Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard.”

The 4K disc has the same extra content as the regular Blu-ray disc.

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Batman: The Long Halloween — Part Two

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 8/10/21;
Warner;
Animated;
$34.98 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for some violence and bloody images.
Voices of Jensen Ackles, Josh Duhamel, Naya Rivera, Billy Burke, Katee Sackhoff, Titus Welliver, David Dastmalchian, Troy Baker, Amy Landecker, Julie Nathanson, Fred Tatasciore, Alastair Duncan.

The second half of The Long Halloween delivers a satisfying conclusion to the animated adaptation of the famed 1990s Batman comic book story.

In Part Two, Gotham’s mob bosses struggle to maintain control of their traditional criminal enterprises as Gotham City continues to be overrun by costumed supervillains in the wake of Batman’s rise as the city’s protector. Picking up from the post-credits scene of Part One, Poison Ivy (Katee Sackhoff) has enthralled Bruce Wayne (Jensen Ackles) into signing over his assets to mafia kingpin Carmine Falcone (Titus Welliver), but the scheme is thwarted by Catwoman (Naya Rivera). Meanwhile, the serial killer known as Holiday continues to wage war on Gotham’s crime families, leading to rampant speculation over the murderer’s true identity.

When suspicion falls upon district attorney Harvey Dent (Josh Duhamel), a surprise attack leaves him physically scarred, transforming him into the villainous Two-Face, and sealing the fate of Gotham’s future once and for all.

Part Two is darker and bloodier than the first half, with graphic animated violence throughout.

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Neither of the Blu-rays for parts one or two includes a featurette about the source material, which is pretty common for the DC Universe animated movies, so perhaps one is being saved for the upcoming 4K Blu-ray that combines both halves into a single longer film, which is slated for next year.

The Part Two Blu-ray does include featurettes about several earlier DC movies, plus a 10-minute preview of the upcoming Injustice animated movie based on the video game about DC heroes fighting each other.

The Blu-ray also includes the excellent two-part “Two-Face” episode depicting the villains origin on “Batman: The Animated Series.”

Also included is the 15-minute DC Showcase animated short Blue Beetle, which is a hilarious homage to the style of superhero cartoons from the 1960s and ’70s, even down to the goofy theme song. The story involves Blue Beetle (Matt Lanter) investigating a villain who uses soda to brainwash people into becoming his henchmen.

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‘Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard’ Shooting to Digital July 23, Disc Aug. 17

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, the sequel to 2017’s The Hitman’s Bodyguard, arrives on digital July 23 and on 4K Ultra HD combo pack (plus Blu-ray and digital), Blu-ray combo pack (plus DVD and digital), DVD and on demand Aug. 17 from Lionsgate.

The film stars Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Salma Hayek, Antonio Banderas and Morgan Freeman.

It earned $38 million at the domestic box office.

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The world’s most lethal odd couple — bodyguard Michael Bryce (Reynolds) and hit man Darius Kincaid (Jackson) — are back. Still unlicensed, Bryce is forced into action by Darius’s wife, the infamous international con artist Sonia Kincaid (Hayek). As Bryce is driven over the edge by the volatile spouses, the trio get in over their heads in a global plot and soon find that they are all that stand between Europe and a vengeful and powerful madman (Banderas).

Special features include featurettes, a gag reel and theatrical trailers.

‘The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard’ a ‘Hit’ at Weekend Box Office

Lionsgate’s action comedy The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard overcame poor reviews, topping the domestic weekend box office through June 20 with a projected $11.7 million in ticket sales across 3,331 screens. The pandemic-delayed sequel to the 2017 original, featuring the return of Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson and Salma Hayak, plus newcomer Antonio Banderas, has generated $17 million since sneak peek showings on June 15.

The movie edged out Paramount Pictures’ enduring A Quiet Place Part II, which generated an estimated $9.4 million, down slightly from the previous weekend when it upset Warner Bros. Pictures’ In the Heights in box office revenue. A Quiet Place Part II has now topped $125 million, making it the top-grossing movie domestically in the pandemic era.

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Sony Pictures’ Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway rounded out the podium with an estimated $6.1 million, bringing the sequel’s total to more than $20 million.

Warner’s The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It continues to have legs, generating $5.1 million and $53.6 million since its debut three weeks ago. Disney’s Cruella also took in $5.1 million to being its gross above $64.7 million — a notable tally considering the movie is available as a $29.99 Disney+ add-on.

Finally, Heights saw its box office decline to $4.2 million, bringing its total to just shy of $20 million after two weekends. The movie is also streaming on HBO Max.

Weekend Box Office Preview: Can ‘The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard’ Find His ‘Quiet Place’?

NEWS ANALYSIS — From the trailers, previews and press images, Mexican actress Salma Hayek makes a lot of noise in Lionsgate action comedy sequel The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, which generated $3.9 million in early domestic screenings entering the Father’s Day weekend.

Wife’s Bodyguard, which brings back the first movie’s stars Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, is the lone new entry to U.S. theaters through June 20, and is projected to generate from $8 million to $11 million in revenue across 3,321 screens — underscoring the reality that while movie theaters have largely returned to full capacity, moviegoers remain cautious.

Will it be enough to unseat Paramount Pictures’ post-apocalyptic sequel A Quiet Place: Part II — the John Krasinski-directed follow up to his 2018 sleeper hit co-starring his wife Emily Blunt? A Quiet Place Part II, which is projected to sell more than $9 million in ticket sales this weekend, last week rebounded in its third week of release to upset Warner Bros. newbie In the Heights with $12 million in ticket sales compared to $11.5 million for Heights.

Based on Lin-Manuel Maranda’s Broadway musical, Heights is concurrently streaming on HBO Max.

Indeed, Disney/Pixar Animation Studios’ new movie release Luca is bypassing theaters and debuting exclusively on streaming platform Disney+.

Shawn Robbins with Box Office Pro expects the impact to be minimal based on historical comparisons of streaming debuts in tandem with major theatrical releases as many have often co-existed.

“It will be intriguing to see if that impacts [Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway] and other family holdovers by any significant amount,” Robbins wrote in a blog post.

The relative weekend box office lull — estimated to decline nearly 19% from June 13 — portends the anticipated theatrical rush for Universal Pictures’ F9: The Fast Saga on June 25. The ninth installment of the venerable fast car franchise has already generated $270 million at the global box office.

This weekend holdovers include Warner’s The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It; Sony Pictures’ Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway; In the Heights (Warner); Walt Disney Pictures’ Cruella; Universal Pictures’ Spirit Untamed, and MGM/United Artists’ Wrath of Man, among others.

Comedy ‘Like a Boss’ Due on Digital April 7, Disc April 21

The comedy Like a Boss will come out on digital April 7 and Blu-ray, DVD and on demand April 21 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

In the film, best friends Mia and Mel (Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne) are living their best lives, running their own cosmetics company until a villainous beauty mogul (Salma Hayek) conspires to steal it. When her devious plan drives the besties apart, Mia and Mel learn that sticking together is the only way to turn the tables and take their company back.

The film also stars Jennifer Coolidge and Billy Porter.

Bonus features on Blu-ray combo pack and digital (depending on retailer) include the featurettes “With Coworkers Like These, Who Needs Friends?” and “’Get Some’ with Ron and Greg and deleted scenes.

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The DVD includes the feature film in standard-definition.

‘The Upside’ Again Tops Redbox Charts

Universal’s The Upside again climbed to the top of both the Redbox disc rental and digital charts for the week ended June 2.

The comedy, starring Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart, took the No. 1 spot on the Redbox kiosk chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red vending machines, as well as the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks digital transactions, including both electronic sellthrough and streaming rentals. The film follows an out-of-work ex-con and a wealthy quadriplegic who unexpectedly come together and help each other. It made $108.3 million at the box office.

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Universal’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World and Warner’s Isn’t It Romantic, also repeated at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, on the disc chart. Meanwhile, Romantic repeated at No. 2 and Dragon fell one spot to No. 4 on the digital chart for the week.

Lionsgate’s actioner Cold Pursuit, starring Liam Neeson as a snow plow driver who seeks revenge against the drug lords who killed his son, stayed in the fourth spot on the disc chart and climbed one spot to No. 3 on the digital chart.

Two new releases debuted on the disc chart for the week. Lionsgate/Quiver’s Drunk Parents, starring Alec Baldwin and Salma Hayek, landed at No. 5, and Universal’s horror thriller Greta, starring Isabelle Huppert and Chloe Grace Moretz, came in at No. 8. It earned $10.5 million in theaters. Greta also landed at No. 10 on the digital chart.

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended June 2:

  1. The Upside — Universal
  2. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World — Universal
  3. Isn’t It Romantic — Warner
  4. Cold Pursuit— Lionsgate
  5. Drunk Parents — Lionsgate/Quiver
  6. Fighting With My Family— Universal
  7. What Men Want— Paramount
  8. Greta — Universal
  9. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part — Warner
  10. Aquaman — Warner

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended June 2:

  1. The Upside — STX
  2. Isn’t It Romantic — Warner
  3. Cold Pursuit — Lionsgate
  4. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World— Universal
  5. What Men Want — Paramount
  6. Glass — Universal
  7. Aquaman — Warner
  8. The Mule — Warner
  9. John Wick — Lionsgate
  10. Greta — Universal

Netflix Partners with Salma Hayek’s Production Company on Mexican Series

Netflix’s latest original series from Mexico will be produced by Salma Hayek’s company Ventanarosa, Lemon Studios and Stearns Castle.

The series, “Monarca,” will begin production this fall and will launch globally in 2019. It stars Irene Azuela and Juan Manuel Bernal and will follow the world of wealthy Mexican elites riddled by corruption, scandal and violence.

“I’m extremely excited to partner with Netflix, and to be working with amazing Mexican talent in front of and behind the camera,” said Hayek in a statement. “We are proud to show Mexico as a vibrant, sophisticated and culturally rich nation, fighting to control its own destiny.”

“Mexico is a top priority for us in which to continue to develop series, and we look forward to bringing the best originals to the world through partnerships with key players such as Ventanarosa and Lemon Studios,” said Netflix’s Erik Barmack in a statement.

Hayek’s Ventanarosa Productions has produced such films and TV shows as Frida, which earned Hayek an Academy Award nomination, and “Ugly Betty.”

The Hitman’s Bodyguard

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Lionsgate;
Action Comedy;
Box Office $75.47 million;
$29.95 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray, $42.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for strong violence and language throughout.
Stars Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, Salma Hayek, Élodie Yung, Joaquim de Almeida, Kirsty Mitchell, Richard E. Grant.

Advertising for The Hitman’s Bodyguard promoted a riotous comedy akin to Deadpool, which makes sense given the Ryan Reynolds connection. The movie we got, on the other hand, turned out to be a pretty hardcore action flick peppered with moments of irreverent humor and some otherwise dark overtones.

The story involves a disgraced private bodyguard (Reynolds) being hired by a former lover (Élodie Yung of Netflix’s “Daredevil”) working for Interpol to escort an international hitman (Samuel L. Jackson) to a high-profile war crimes trial involving a European dictator (Gary Oldman), after other witnesses turn up dead due to a suspected mole in the agency.

On cue, assassins get wind of the duo of Reynolds and Jackson and hunt them down with furious gunfire through car, motorcycle and boat chases. The movie gets by mostly due to the chemistry of its two leads, but otherwise shouldn’t disappoint too many fans of buddy action movies. Besides, with Jackson (Nick Fury in the “Avengers” movies), Reynolds (Deadpool himself) and Yung (Elektra on Marvel’s Netflix shows), it’s practically a Marvel Comics crossover. (Oldman was Commissioner Gordon in Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies, but that’s on the DC Comics side of the ledger so we’ll have to leave him out.)

The Blu-ray includes a ton of good extras, such as deleted scenes, some typical behind-the-scenes featurettes and a commentary from director Patrick Hughes, himself no stranger to action after helming The Expendables 3.