THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD (Cert 15, 96 mins, Lionsgate Home Entertainment UK Ltd, Action/Comedy/Thriller/Romance, available now on Amazon Prime Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, available from September 3 on DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £24.99/4K Ultra HD Blu-ray £29.99)
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L Jackson, Salma Hayek, Antonio Banderas, Frank Grillo, Morgan Freeman, Rebecca Front.
BODYGUARD Michael Bryce (Reynolds) is in the throes of an existential crisis now he has been stripped of his triple-A rating. “I’m a bodyguard without a licence. That’s like a belly dancer without a torso,” he laments to his beleaguered therapist (Rebecca Front).
She convinces Michael to take a sabbatical from the protection business during a recuperative break in sun-kissed Capri.
International con artist Sonia Kincaid (Salma Hayek) gatecrashes the Mediterranean paradise and compels Michael to help her rescue hitman husband Darius (Samuel L Jackson) from the clutches of the eastern European mafia.
The daring mission propels Michael, Sonia and Darius into the orbits of Interpol agent Bobby O’Neill (Frank Grillo) and Greek tycoon Aristotle Papadopolous (Antonio Banderas).
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is a slapdash sequel, which contrives a cursory James Bond-esque plot to disable Europe’s financial markets as a flimsy framework for slow-motion shootouts, bloodthirsty fist fights and an explosive car chase over a collapsing elevated highway.
Patrick Hughes’s action comedy expects Reynolds’ natural charisma and exuberance to paper over sizeable cracks but there’s only so much one man can do. A heavy reliance on profanity for laughs becomes wearisome although Hayek’s lurid explanation for her character’s inability to fall pregnant is an undeniable base pleasure.
Returning writer Tom O’Connor, who penned the script with siblings Brandon and Phillip Murphy, evidently believes if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That would be a sensible approach if the original film wasn’t beset with hit-and-miss irreverence, loopy plotting and tonal inconsistencies.
The unwieldy title of the sequel exemplifies the inelegance of this globe-trotting caper.
MONSTER HUNTER (Cert 12, 103 mins, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Action/Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Adventure, available from September 6 on Amazon Prime Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, available from September 20 on DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £24.99/4K Ultra HD Blu-ray £36.99)
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Tony Jaa, Jin Au-Yeung, Meagan Good, Tip ‘TI’ Harris, Diego Boneta, Josh Helman, Ron Perlman.
US ARMY ranger Natalie Artemis (Milla Jovovich) leads her squad including Axe (Jin Au-Yeung), Dash (Meagan Good), Lincoln (Tip ‘TI’ Harris), Marshall (Diego Boneta) and Steeler (Josh Helman) on a mission to locate missing troops in the desert.
Bravo Team’s tyre tracks vanish in a stretch of sand lined with stone pillars. An electrically charged storm engulfs Natalie and her platoon and they are propelled through a portal into the New World where a horned subterranean predator called Diablos sits atop the food chain.
The soldiers’ impressive arsenal is no match for Diablos’ scaly armour and the terrified military unit seeks shelter in a cave where spider-like Nerscyllas are waiting to pounce.
Meanwhile, a skilled hunter (Tony Jaa) of these hideous beasts surveys the carnage from a safe distance using his collapsible telescope.
Based on a Capcom video game series, Monster Hunter hacks and slashes at a wearying pace accompanied by the steady growl of composer Paul Haslinger’s score.
Jovovich and Jaa catalyse inert screen chemistry and whenever director Paul WS Anderson runs out of expendable human cast, he casually introduces nameless fresh faces to sacrifice to the towering denizens of the New World.
The language barrier between the two leads is played for uncomfortable laughs in Anderson’s script, which takes a disconcertingly laid-back approach to coherent storytelling as the action oscillates between parallel realms. Dialogue and characterisation are gossamer thin.
Impressive digital effects bring hulking creatures to life and Anderson orchestrates one exhilarating set-piece: a fire-breathing dragon called a Rathalos taking down a military plane in mid-air.
Money Heist Season 5: Jaime Lorente as Denver, Belen Cuesta as Manila and Ursula Corbero as Tokio
MONEY HEIST – PART 5: VOLUME 1 (5 episodes, streaming from September 3 exclusively on Netflix, Thriller/Romance/Action)
ONE of the biggest breakout hits on Netflix reaches its thrilling conclusion when nail-biting Spanish crime thriller Money Heist begins its fifth and final series this week.
The Professor (Alvaro Morte), criminal mastermind of the daredevil heist on the Bank of Spain, has finally been captured by police inspector Alicia Sierra (Najwa Nimri) while the gang has been shut in the bank for over 100 hours.
Thankfully, they have managed to rescue Lisbon (Itziar Ituno) but the stakes are about to be raised when the robbers face the might of the Special Forces of the Spanish Army commanded by Sagasta (Jose Manuel Seda).
Full-blown war erupts as the thieves seek an escape route. Fans will have to wait until December 3 for the release of Volume 2.
Billions Season 5: Frank Grillo as Tanner and Damian Lewis as Bobby ‘Axe’ Axelrod
BILLIONS – SEASON 5B (5 episodes, starts streaming from September 8 exclusively on NOW TV, Drama/Romance)
THE truncated fifth series of the gripping drama created by Brian Koppelman, David Levien and Andrew Ross Sorkin returns to Sky Atlantic this week and streams exclusively on NOW TV.
When we left hedge fund king Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis), he was facing accusations of fraud and wrestling with physical and mental abuse inflicted by his father when he was younger.
Meanwhile, Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) was fanning flames of romance with sociology professor Catherine Brant (Julianna Margulies) and Chuck’s ambitious wife Wendy (Maggie Siff) faced the consequences of sleeping with artist Nico Tanner (Frank Grillo).
In these final five episodes, the repercussions of betrayals become painfully evident and powerful business titan Mike Prince (Corey Stoll) continues to pose a threat to Axe’s dominance.
Doogie Kamealoha, MD: Kathleen Rose Perkins as Dr Clara Hannon, Peyton Elizabeth Lee as Lahela ‘Doogie’ Kamealoha, Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman as Charles Zeller and Mapuana Makia as Noelani Nakayama
DOOGIE KAMEALOHA, MD (10 episodes, starts streaming from September 8 exclusively on Disney+, Drama/Comedy/Romance)
IN 1989, comedy drama Doogie Howser, MD launched 16-year-old Neil Patrick Harris into the public consciousness as a brilliant teenage prodigy, who juggles growing pains with a budding medical career. The show ran for four series and won numerous awards.
Kourtney Kang, an executive producer on How I Met Your Mother, reboots the central premise for a 10-part coming-of-age dramedy on Disney+ set in modern-day Hawaii.
Sixteen-year-old prodigy Lahela ‘Doogie’ Kamealoha (Peyton Elizabeth Lee) is supervised at hospital by her career-driven mother Dr Clara Hannon (Kathleen Rose Perkins).
The youngster works hard to prove herself and gains valuable insights from colleagues Charles (Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman) and Noelani (Mapuana Makia).
Out of her scrubs, Lahela joins best friend Steph (Emma Meisel) to admire surfer crush Walter (Alex Aiono) from afar and savour the ebb and flow of family life with doting father Benny (Jason Scott Lee), free-spirited older brother Kai (Matthew Sato) and outgoing younger brother Brian Patrick (Wes Tian).
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