NETFLIX — Salma Hayek gets all kinds of DESPERADO in EVERLY, the female equivalent of JOHN WICK, only with a better menagerie of foes, and a lot more yoga pants!
Salma stars as Everly, a woman who found herself at the shit end of the sex slave trade stick. After a night of “partying,” she finds herself at the end of her rope. After attempting to escape her life, she finds herself standing tall in a room full of dead Yakuza types, and the knowledge that things are about to get a whole lot worse!
When I first saw the trailer for EVERLY, I was convinced it was a joke. It was roughly two minutes of Hayek shooting bad guys in a nightie. In a world where fake trailers are sort of a thing, I didn’t think it was that far-fetched that some dude, maybe a personal friend of Hayek, convinced the sex symbol to play action star for some quick and dirty fun. Considering she’s played the damsel in distress in action flicks before, the twist of having her being the gun-totting hero is novel. However, I was also totally convinced that if this was legit, it would probably be completely unwatchable, failing to transcend the gimmick casting.
Boy, was I wrong.
Not only is EVERLY real, it’s pretty fucking amazing! Last year there were “action films” that claimed to give fans of the genre what they want (EXPENDABLES, ROBOCOP, HERCULES, etc), but they fell well below expectations opting for the safer PG-13 route. EVERLY gives PG-13 the finger, and drops a vile of acid down its throat! Seriously, this movie wastes little time getting right into some MURDERDEATHKILLing, and it never shies away from showing you the brutality at play. While there’s a ton of gun play, it also offers grenades, rocket launchers, acid, sais, tasers, katanas, and maybe the scariest of them all… JAPANESE MASOCHISTS!
Hayek’s performance is fine considering the film she’s in. I wouldn’t tune into a film like this expecting anyone to give a powerhouse performance. Sure, there are a handful of scenes where she needs to be sad and emote, but for the most part all that’s really required is that she show up, be smoking hot, and look like she gives a damn, and she does all of that. Everyone involved seemed to know exactly what they signed up for, so there’s lots of hammy performances, tongue-in-cheek smirks, and not a lot of dwelling on the horrible situation everyone is stuck in, and that’s a good thing.
Director Joe Lynch has crafted a Hard R action film that poo-poos plot, eschews emotionality, and fully embraces the depraved. The entire set-up is wholly unbelievable if you try and apply logic to it, but seriously… why the fuck would you want to do that? Sometimes, in order to make a badass action film, logic needs to take one in the nuts. In this case it takes a knee, a bullet, and a blade.
It’s a dark film boasting some really inspired action sequences, and some pretty awesome cinematography. The camera work and angle choices make the most of the restricted set the film uses (the bulk of the film takes place in a single loft type apartment), and never feels dull. Even cutting the power and turning all of the lights off for a particular scene completely refreshed the set ultimately making the film even darker and grittier than it was before.
If you’re a hardcore action fan, who yearns for a return to the Hard R days of old when movies lived to push the limits of what was acceptable to show on screen, then EVERLY is what you’ve been waiting for. It’s a bit more gruesome than films of the past, but it definitely panders to the fans rather than the masses, which means supporting this film is all the more important. I’d highly recommend renting or buying this movie, and supporting action the way it is meant to be.
Kind of ironic: EVERLY’s packing bigger balls than the entire EXPENDABLES franchise combined! You go girl.