Salma Hayek guns her way out of trouble in a stylish but stupid thriller
Some way from her thoughtful performance as artist Frida Kahlo in Julie Taymor‘s 2002 biopic, Salma Hayek slums it in demeaning style as Everly, a single mother forced into prostitution and fighting waves of professional hitmen. With the action limited to an apartment building, Joe Lynch’s B-movie has lashings of style and gore, but never finds a credible focus on its heroine’s predicament.
Everly’s first appearance is a shocking one: she bursts through a toilet door, naked and covered in blood. Retrieving a gun from inside the toilet cistern, she returns to the fray to blow away a series of henchmen, pornographers and murderous prostitutes, before crime overlord Taiko (Hiroyuki Watanabe) puts a bounty on her head that diverts more opponents to her doorstep. The challenge for Everly is to secure the safety of her mother and daughter (Laura Cepeda and Aisha Ayamah), while dealing with the onslaught of well-armed killers.
Even a short synopsis of Everly betrays the obvious flaw in Yale Hannon’s script: it would be incredible for an ordinary person to take down a single trained assassin at close quarters, but Everly racks up a death toll of double figures in the first ten minutes. Sporting either nothing, skimpy lingerie or a skin-tight yoga outfit, Hayek cuts a dynamic figure, but Lynch’s film is so juvenile in structure that there’s no tension in her exploits, only a rising sense of outlandishness.
As a heavy-handed exploitation film, Everly certainly has something to offer sensation seekers, as samurai swords and deadly poisons are vigorously employed, dogs are blown up with grenades, and one character grandly introduces himself as 'The Sadist'. But even at only 92 minutes, the real sadism is being forced to watch this childish action flick. Everly has guts and sparkle but, without sense, it all adds up to nothing but bluster.
Selected release from Fri 26 Jun.