Everly

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Everly (Salma Hayek), a prostitute working for the brutal criminal overlord Taiko (Hiroyuki Watanabe), is being attacked in her apartment by Taiko’s enforcers after he discovers that she has been working with the police to bring down his organization. However, though Taiko expected his men to kill her easily after torturing her, Everly retrieves a gun she had hidden and manages to kill all of her attackers. Taiko then begins a sadistic game of toying with Everly, dispatching numerous hired killers and offering the other prostitutes in the building (which he presumably owns) a bounty if they manage to kill her. Meanwhile, Everly attempts to contact her mother Edith (Laura Cepeda) and young daughter Maisey (Aisha Ayamah) to save them from other henchmen of Taiko and get them out of the situation alive.

Everly is caught by The Sadist (Togo Igawa) and some of Taiko’s henchmen and tied up in a room. During Everly’s torture, Edith bursts in with a gun and kills 2 of The Sadist’s torturers, but is subdued by The Sadist while he performs the same torture as he did with Everly on her. Everly desperately struggles to escape and help her mother. She breaks one of the ropes that The Sadist had loosened before and uses her free hand to kill one of the assailants with a hidden gun. When The Sadist realizes she has a hidden gun, she shoots him twice in the lung. The last torturer runs toward Everly with a weapon, only to die when she shoots him in the chest and neck. She escapes her remaining restraints and goes to help Edith. The Sadist stands up (being still alive) and knocks Everly down, and is about to kill Edith when Everly forces a poisonous liquid down his throat, melting his intestines out of his stomach which kills him.

As the film progresses, it’s revealed that Everly was a prisoner in the plush apartment after having been kidnapped by Taiko four years earlier and forced into prostitution. She has had no contact with Edith or Maisey during that time, and they are confused and angry at the deadly situation they are suddenly thrust into. As Everly fights off the numerous attacks, the foes become more outlandish; originally they are simply armed thugs, but eventually they appear in costumes and with themed groups for extravagant tortures.

Eventually, Edith is killed by a sniper hired by Taiko from the building across from the apartment. Everly is finally subdued, but manages to kill Taiko after his soldiers have left. Afterwards, Everly reconciles with Maisey, who was under the protection of one of Everly’s neighbors, who was eventually killed. The film closes with Everly seemingly succumbing to her wounds, but with Maisey still alive and potentially safe with the death of Taiko. However, immediately before the credits, there is audio of a beeping heart-monitor and gasp of breath to indicate that Everly has not died after all.

REVIEW:

Imagine being trapped in your own home against your will. Could you handle it? Alright, what if your neighbors all of a sudden decided to try to kill you? Still think you’d survive? Well, then maybe you’re better than Everly. Is this a piece of cinema history or just another flick that is sure to be forgotten?

What is this about?

After a call girl betrays her crime boss lover to the police, he offers a $50,000 bounty to anyone who can kill her. Trapped inside her apartment, she must fight off an endless tide of assassins to survive — and save her family.

What did I like?

Tone. Comedy? Thriller? Action? This film manages to seamlessly weave through all three genres, doing so without losing the fun factor it has going for it. It should also be mentioned that this is not necessarily a dark film. Don’t expect to see unicorns, rainbows, and dancing teddy bears, but this is film that shines when it isn’t taking itself too seriously.

Salma. Salma Hayek is a fine actress. She has the ability to portray an animated character, has great comedic chops, can bring the drama, and even turn sadistic villain. With this role, we get to see her as the lead in an action flick. I don’t want to bring this up, but I feel it needs to be mentioned…when was the last time a woman of color had her own action flick? Aside from Hayek’s acting, you cannot help but admire her flawless curves, which are pushed into the viewers face and don’t think the director didn’t do that on purpose. This is obviously meant for a male audience, plus she’s playing a prostitute/call-girl, so it is kind of expected for her to be dressed in such a way.

All in one place. This seems like a low budget film, with most of the price going to Salma Hayek’s salary. They definitely didn’t spend much on sets and scenery because the whole picture takes place inside this one apartment building. After seeing so many pictures that have these outlandish budgets because they have to go shoot somewhere exotic or the current trend of forcing China into everything because they make the most money or something like that, it is great to just see everything happen in one place. I almost felt like I was watching a play, until someone got a bullet to the head!

What didn’t I like?

Overkill. So, Everly calls the cops on this crime lord, Taiko, and he sends everything he has at her, including some very heavily armed guards and himself, but why? What’s done is done! I’d have been more worried about fleeing for my safety…and I’d come back for her later. This whole scenario seemed to play out like a video game, a fun one, but still a game, with the Sadist coming off as some super hard mini boss and then Taiko as the boss at the end.

Origin. When we first meet Everly, we don’t know much, other than she seems to be in trouble, but as the film progresses we learn a bit more about her, like how she was kidnapped and forced into prostitution and had no contact with her mother and child for four years. The question is, why her? What was so special about Everly? Also, the poster and opening scene seem to want to make sure we know about her back tattoo, but nothing is really said about the thing.

Call mom. When we get into trouble, can’t find a solution, feel down, etc., who is the first person we all run to? Mom! Everly is no different, she even tried to reciprocate the love and send her away for her own safety (and her daughter’s). So, what exactly is wrong with this, you may ask? Well, it was the timeline. Apparently she hasn’t been able to call her for four years and today, the day when her life is in danger, she is able to reach out and get in touch. Also, it sounds like mom is none too happy about this arrangement, so I am sure there’d be some resentment issues that must be worked out.

In the spirit of movies like Shoot ‘Em Up, The Transporter, and maybe even Crank, Everly delivers on the action, while not shying away from being a fun flick. If you’re a fan of Salma Hayek, guns and blood, this is for you. On the flip side, if you’re the type looking for deep character development and a plausible plot, then this is definitely not your cup of tea. Do I recommend it? Yes, while this won’t make any top 10 (best or worst of) lists, it is a good watch. Give it a shot!

4 out of 5 stars

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