The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard has been met with largely negative reviews ahead of the action comedy sequel's release later this month.
Directed by returning filmmaker Patrick Hughes, the follow-up reunites Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L Jackson as they reprise the roles of minder Michael Bryce and assassin Darius Kincaid, respectively.
Salma Hayek is also back as Darius's international con artist wife Sonia – having bagged herself a mention in the title this time round.
Kristofer Kamiyasu (Good Omens), Gabriella Wright (The Tudors), Frank Grillo (The Purge series), Tom Hopper (The Umbrella Academy), Richard E Grant, Morgan Freeman and Antonio Banderas round out the cast.
Scoring just 27% on Rotten Tomatoes at time of writing, the movie appears not to have gone down well with critics, with Slant Magazine's Derek Smith claiming that the only reason it's an improvement on its 2017 predecessor is because it's 20 minutes shorter.
"The sequel is as clunky as its title," the writer continued, condemning the outing for giving Hayek little else to do than "play up the fiery Latina stereotype" she's so often seen playing.
"The film's uneasy blend of action and comedy is neither well-directed enough to deliver on the former – Hughes's quick cutting and liberal use of extreme close-ups barely conceals how poorly choreographed the fight scenes are – nor is it sharp or witty enough to inspire more than a light chuckle," the review continues.
Elsewhere, Forbes' Scott Mendelsohn described the film as "cartoonish and hackneyed," and slammed it for "repeating the same narrative beats" as the original. He also knocked it for "retroactively dumbing down its characters".
Variety's Owen Gleiberman branded it "a winking bash of wretched excess that makes the most overly amped and slovenly entry in the Fast and Furious franchise look like North by Northwest," while AV Club's A.A. Dowd argued that it's "so atrocious, it makes the original look like a classic."
Indiewire's review – penned by David Ehrlich – was a little more forgiving, commending The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard for "a more assured sense of self" than the movie that came before it.
"No one will ever confuse this for a good movie – it lacks any evident aspirations of goodness, as if returning director Patrick Hughes made the best thing he could while strapped to a bomb that would explode if its Rotten Tomatoes score ever went above 50 percent Fresh," he continued, however.
The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard opens in UK cinemas on June 14. It releases in the US two days later.
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