Salma Hayek plays a prostitute going up against the Yakuza in this ridiculous, excessively violent exploitation flick from director Joe Lynch (Wrong Turn 2: Dead End, Knights of Badassdom).
Originally intended as a starring vehicle for Kate Hudson (if you see the film, you’ll wonder how that was ever on the cards), Hayek brings a hint of star quality to the proceedings but given this is the actress who so beautifully played Frida Khalo, it’s a total bummer watching her clad in underwear, undergoing multiple brutal humiliations.
Everly (Hayek), a prostitute working for criminal overload Taiko (Hiroyuki Watanabe), is stuck in her apartment under attack from his cronies. It becomes clear she’s been working with the police to bring him and his organisation down.
The implausibly resourceful Everly fights back and so begins a sadistic game in which Taiko sends his henchman, other prostitutes and a torturer called ‘The Sadist’ to bring her down.
OK, on the plus side, Everly is fairly well made and the action scenes are competent but somewhere along the way, the idea of a feminist grindhouse revenge flick has been completely lost. Instead we have a fan-boy fantasy in which the violence is ramped up to torture porn levels.
The introduction of Everly’s mother and cutesy daughter are designed to soften the sleaze but only add to the overall ickiness.
Hayek deserves a lot better than this.
Everly is an overtly violent and ridiculous action film starring Salma Hayek (Everly) as a prostitute turned assassin.
It begins with Everly hiding in the bathroom from her Yakuza-type oppressors – she is terrified and seems inexperienced with a gun. Yet she somehow manages to defeat an entire room of trained Japanese mafia.
She then sustains a gunshot wound. This, however, seems to be of very little hindrance to her as she is still able to jump around, shoot people and drag bodies into the bathtub (this being just one of the many ludicrous scenes to take place in the film).
Everly continues in an over the top, exceedingly violent fashion with a series of action sequences, nearly all of which take place in one apartment. Everly manages to defeat wave upon wave of Yakuza/police/torturers – all of whom embody the clichés of violent, sadistic Japanese fighters.
Even infrequent cinemagoers will observe the film’s influences relatively easily; director Joe Lynch seems to have a penchant for Kill Bill and other such ultra-violent cinema. Whilst I will readily admit that Kill Bill is often extremely violent, the way that the fight sequences are shot are done in Tarantino’s style. And it works. In Everly, however, it does not.
The soundtrack also borrows heavily from Tarantino, as we see the hideous violence and bloodshed play out to the music of Christmas records such as Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
Everly is, unfortunately, not the great feminist warrior fighting male oppression that she thinks she is. Her story is unbelievable and she is fighting for herself and her family, not some higher cause. She has no qualms in taking out the other women in her position- ok they are coming for her after a bounty is placed on her head but it would have been nice to see some solidarity reminiscent of Mad Max: Fury Road.
Everly is out on DVD and Blu-Ray on Monday 10th August