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Ghost Canyon

Movie Reviews

Hitmans Wifes Bodyguard
(R / 1h 39m / Millennium Media)

Overview: The worlds most lethal odd couple -- bodyguard Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) and hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) -- are back on another life-threatening mission.

Still unlicensed and under scrutiny, Bryce is forced into action by Dariuss even more volatile wife, the infamous international con artist Sonia Kincaid (Salma Hayek).

As Bryce is driven over the edge by his two most dangerous protectees, 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 (Antonio Banderas).

Verdict: Sometimes, there is nothing wrong with a movie being perfectly acceptable and no more. Not every film needs to aim for awards season glory, critical acclaim or billions of box office dollars while trying to reinvent the wheel, and Hitmans Wifes Bodyguard is one of those titles that is just ... there.

It is not great, but it is not terrible, either. It exists while you are watching it and once the credits roll, it may well never cross your mind ever again.

Dropping the The from the title does not make it any less clunky, but Hitmans Wifes Bodyguard isn’t particularly interested in being anything other than a vapid star vehicle, though on the plus side, those stars are certainly having fun.

The plot picks up with Ryan Reynolds Michael Bryce in therapy having been disavowed as a AAA bodyguard, which becomes a running gag for the second film in a row, despite the fact that it is never once been funny.

His therapist suggests he go on vacation to put his career in the rearview for a little while, only for Salma Hayeks Sonia Kincaid to show up just as he gets comfortable, shooting her way through a crowd of henchmen.

This leads to another one of Hitmans Wifes Bodyguards nauseating recurring jokes about Bryce being on sabbatical, and you will not be shocked to find out that none of the repeated attempts at humor really land, and there are a ton of them.

That being said, when you throw Reynolds, Hayek and Samuel L. Jackson into a three-handed road trip buddy action comedy, the very least you would expect is some decent interplay and a couple of big laughs, which the movie just about manages; although you get the distinct impression that it is more to do with improvisation between the leads rather than the script, which is pretty much useless!

Antonio Banderas plays Mafia kingpin Aristotle Papadopolous, who wants to use a diamond-tipped drill to compromise a central data hub and unleash a computer virus across the continent that will wreak havoc on the entire European Union, so he can restore Greece to its former glories as the peak of Western civilization, or something like that.

It is never really explained in great detail, because in the grand scheme of things it does not matter in the slightest.

This is all about actors you like doing the things you like to see them do, and that is the one area where Hitmans Wifes Bodyguard really manages to deliver. Reynolds is the neurotic, sarcastic and wise-cracking foil to the over-the-top duo of Jackson and Hayek.

The former essentially plays himself and offers a string of variations on the word motherf*cker as you would expect him to do, while for the first half of the movie Hayek literally does almost nothing but run around shouting obscenities and shooting people in the face. Like the majority of the character beats, it is funny the first couple of times, but then it starts to get old.

Richard E. Grant also shows up for about ten seconds and for no reason but still gets his name in the opening credits, Morgan Freeman delivers exposition in those syrupy tones of his in a role that is probably best kept a secret until you see the movie for yourself, while Frank Grillo is wasted as the standard government suit.

Grillo is a proven action star that could have been a huge asset to Hitmans Wifes Bodyguard in another capacity, but instead he is saddled with a one-note gig as Interpol’s Bobby ONeill.

The entirety of the agents arc is that he wants to go back home to Boston, and Grillo at least attempts the accent for a couple of scenes before dropping it, but he is quite clearly a man born and raised in the Bronx.

He also gets a female Scottish translator who he immediately calls an asshole, then labels as William Wallace and Sean Connery in quick succession, but from that point on, the would-be running gag never gets mentioned again.

In fact, there are countless bits that get set up for multiple uses only to fall flat every time, which include but are in no way limited to: Jacksons testicles, Hayeks boobs, the couples inability to start a family, Bryces daddy issues, bodyguard rivalries and more!

It is the sort of hollow studio-produced effort that occupies a strange space, in that it is evidently a paycheck gig for a lot of the talent but they clearly had a great time jetting off to glamorous locales to shoot it, and the performances of the central trio just about paper over some of the more notable cracks.

Patrick Hughes direction is functional at best without coming close to being exciting, dynamic, inventive or remotely original, which sums up the film in a nutshell.

Everything about Hitmans Wifes Bodyguard is just okay, from the fight choreography and car chases to the gunplay and visual effects, which is probably a compliment. It could have turned out a lot worse, but it also would not have taken much effort on the part of the key creative players to make something a whole lot better with the exact same premise. It is loud, foul-mouthed, violent and bloody, which often feels ill-at-ease with the overall tone, which is more like an R-rated comedy with action elements than the other way around. It is not high art, and it is not going to go down as the worst movie of the year, either, but you could argue it is better to take a swing and a miss than settle for mediocrity!

Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It
(R / 1h 52m / New Line)

Overview: The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It reveals a chilling story of terror, murder and unknown evil that shocked even experienced real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren.

One of the most sensational cases from their files, it starts with a fight for the soul of a young boy, then takes them beyond anything they had ever seen before, to mark the first time in U.S. history that a murder suspect would claim demonic possession as a defense.

Verdict: Although its title says otherwise, the latest Conjuring film is not the work of Satan. That would imply some deliciously evil malevolence – a truly unholy force that would be impressive in its unparalleled wickedness.

Instead, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is merely the product of lazy, entirely mortal filmmakers who, having found themselves with an impressively lucrative no-frills franchise, recited a Hail Mary of dubious intent.

Technically the third film in the Conjuring series following real-life husband-and-wife demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren – but really the eighth film in an ever-expanding Conjuring-verse that features prequels and side-quels and spinoffs – The Devil Made Me Do It is a resolutely pedestrian kind of horror.

If you want nothing more than a few CRANK THE VOLUME jump-scares and some impressive occult-y set design, then this is your kind of Hell. For more discerning cinematic sinners – including those who were impressed by the moody first Conjuring and the kicky kitsch of its spinoff Annabelle Comes Home – here lies been-there-exorcised-that darkness.

Taking place a few years after the events of The Conjuring 2, in which Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) investigated a British poltergeist – with a quick stopover in Amityville – this new adventure finds the couple battling Satanists in 1980s Connecticut.

Based on an infamous murder trial in which the accused, a young man named Arne Johnson (Ruairi OConnor), claimed demonic possession as a defense, the film tracks the Warrens efforts to both prove the impossible and stop it from happening again.

By centering their story around a sensational legal case, director Michael Chaves (who made his debut with the drippy 2019 Conjuring-verse entry The Curse of la Llorona) and screenwriter David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick had the opportunity to tweak a genre that is so far been impermeable to horrors influences. But reinvention is not something that the filmmakers – nor franchise mastermind James Wan – are interested in.

Rather, The Conjuring 3 is another semi-spooky ghost hunt, complete with walking corpses, creepy priests, and so many allusions to past horror movies that you begin to wonder whether Chaves intended to tip his hat to, say, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4s waterbed scene or simply ripped it off unconsciously.

Fortunately, Wilson and Farmiga have now transcended slumming it to elevating it, and give much-needed fresh life to characters, and predicaments, that feel as ancient as the evil which Ed and Lorraine battle over and over.

And good on actor John Noble, too, for popping up and making the line, “A master Satanist is not an adversary to be taken lightly, sound like something that someone, somewhere, at some time, might actually say with a degree of seriousness.

Ultimately, there is no resisting the Conjuring-verses supernaturally profitable reign of terror. With two more spinoffs currently in development, it is clear that the producers prayers have been answered. But me, I am still agnostic!