'Everly': Film Review

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Salma Hayek kicks ass, and looks great doing it

Salma Hayek plays a woman fending off an endless series of would-be assassins in Joe Lynch's ultra-violent action film

Action movies don't come more basic than Everly, in which a scantily clad Salma Hayek mows down an endless number of would-be assassins with aplomb. Set entirely within the confines of a single apartment and featuring enough baroquely and extremely violent showpieces to make Takashi Miike jealous, Joe Lynch's determinedly B-movie exercise is strictly formulaic but should well please genre enthusiasts who will relish watching the sexiest female badass since Uma Thurman in Kill Bill.

The atmosphere is set immediately with the opening sequence featuring Hayek in the buff, with an ornate tattoo covering the entirely of her back. We soon learn that she is a prostitute who's been held prisoner for years by a vicious yakuza boss (Hiroyuki Watanabe) who has now put out a lucrative contract on her after she dared to rat him out to the authorities.  

Cue the relentless violent mayhem, as a wave of killers, including a gaggle of her former hooker colleagues, attempt to finish her off. Fortunately, Everly seems have extensive experience handling heavy weaponry, including machine guns and grenades, and an apparently inexhaustible arsenal with which to fight back.

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And fight back she does, clad for a good portion of the film's running time in only sexy lingerie and high heels before switching to a more practical ensemble of yoga pants, a low-cut tank top, and sneakers. But whatever she's wearing, the 48-year-old Hayek looks as gorgeously sexy as she did nearly twenty years ago in From Dusk till Dawn.

In a possible nod to the not exactly dissimilar Die Hard, screenwriter Yale Hannon sets the action during the Christmas season, providing the opportunity for such jolly moments as when Everly attempts to clean up the aftermath of bloody carnage to the strains of "Deck the Halls."

More imaginatively, he's come up with some fiendishly unique characters, including two of Everly's most formidable opponents: "The Sadist" (Togo Igawa) and his inevitable cohort "The Masochist" (Masashi Fujimoto). The latter is particularly hard to kill since he thoroughly enjoys receiving every bullet pumped into him, while the former happily suffers through a demise involving ingesting sulfuric acid with literally gut-busting results.

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Other highlights include Everly's fending off an attack by a vicious dog by throwing him a ball to chase that turns out to be a live grenade; a group of killers dressed up kabuki theater-style; and her interactions with an ill-fated, sympathetic henchman (Akie Kotable) aptly dubbed "Dead Man."

In a half-hearted effort to inject some emotionalism into the otherwise lurid proceedings, it turns out that Everly's survival instincts are fueled not only by self-preservation, but also her desire to protect her estranged mother (Laura Cepeda) and five-year-old daughter who she hasn't seen in years, both of whom inexplicably manage to enter the apartment during a lull in the bloody mayhem.

Director Lynch, previously responsible for such efforts as Knights of Badassdom and Wrong Turn 2, stages the action cleanly and kinetically. And Hayek delivers a fully committed performance, handling the role's intense physical demands with commanding authority. While it's hard not to wish that she had been afforded a more expansive vehicle to show off her kick-ass moves, she can clearly give such male counterparts as Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson a run for their money.  

Production: Crime Scene Pictures, Anonymous Content
Cast: Salma Hayek, Hiroyuki Watanabe, Laura Cepeda, Togo Igawa, Akie Kotabe, Gabriella Wright, Caroline Chikezie, Jennifer Blanc
Director: Joe Lynch
Screenwriter: Yale Hannon
Producers: Rob Paris, Andrew Pfeffer, Adam Ripp, Luke Rivett
Executive producers: Ricky Budhrani, Paul Green, Rizal Risjad
Director of photography: Steve Gainer
Production designer: Ondrej Nekvasil
Editor: Evan Schiff
Costume designer: Momirka Bailovic
Composer: Bear McCreary
Casting: Elaine Grainger

Rated R, 92 min.  

 

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