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Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson and Salma Hayek star in The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard.David Appleby/Courtesy of VVS

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  • The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard
  • Directed by Patrick Hughes
  • Written by Tom O’Connor, Brandon Murphy and Phillip Murphy
  • Starring Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson and Salma Hayek
  • Classification R; 99 minutes

Get ready, Canada (except you, Ontario and Manitoba): Movie theatres are back! And to greet you, here’s a punch to the face: The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, a movie that is as annoying to type out as it is to sit through.

The dumb-dumb action-comedy will feel familiar to a good portion of those who make it out to the multiplex this week. Not only because it is a follow-up to 2017′s The Hitman’s Bodyguard – in which Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson exchanged quips and firepower to quarter-amusing affect – but because it also comes across like a bargain-basement remake of Reynolds’s other recent shoot-’em-up, 6 Underground.

Both that 2019 Michael Bay production and this sloppy new sequel hopscotch across Europe, feature a ludicrous body count, and feature a bloody climax set aboard a superyacht. But while 6 Underground was a gleefully absurd and self-aware assault on the senses, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (I’m just going to shorten it to THWB) is just a pure assault. After surviving its 99 increasingly stupid and hackneyed minutes, you will feel used and abused. And no amount of Reynolds’s smirking will save you.

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Picking up a few years after the events of director Patrick Hughes’s first (and I guess beloved-enough?) film, THWB opens with personal-security maestro Michael (Reynolds) traumatized from his relationship with professional assassin Darius (Jackson), and seeking a peaceful exit from the bodyguarding biz. But thanks to a number of factors that include, but are not limited to, European gangsters, Interpol, a computer virus, and, um, civil Greek unrest, the two are thrown together for another round of killin’ and quippin’. Oh, and this time Darius’s wife, Sonia (Salma Hayek, who had a small role in the first film), is fully along for the fun. Which, again, is really no fun at all.

Even if you’re partial to these kinds of no-brain-necessary larks – you know, films where the violence is plentiful and the banter is charming – there is almost nothing here to scratch that particular genre itch. While Hughes’s first film made for easy-ish late-night phone-in-hand watching, this sequel stinks of quick-buck turnaround. The plot is a mess, the dialogue is wretched, and the action is alternately yawn-inducing or incomprehensibly staged.

If you must – must! – watch THWB this week (perhaps you just want to sit in an air-conditioned theatre with a large Coke for the first time in half a year, which, yeah, I’m with you), then at least you can take solace in the fact that the performers seem to be having a half-decent time. Hayek in particular appears to relish the opportunity to deliver lines that are unprintable here. And she even gets a brief reunion with her long-ago Desperado co-star Antonio Banderas, who pops up here as the forgettable villain. And hey, professional tough-guy Frank Grillo is also around, too, and that’s always nice. Good for you, Frank Grillo.

But otherwise, I beg of you, watch absolutely anything else playing at your local multiplex this weekend. They need your business. But you don’t need the headache.

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard opens June 16 in Canadian theatres, dependent on public health restrictions

In the interest of consistency across all critics’ reviews, The Globe has eliminated its star-rating system in film and theatre to align with coverage of music, books, visual arts and dance. Instead, works of excellence will be noted with a Critic’s Pick designation across all coverage.

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