Sometimes going out to the theater is hard work, especially with cataclysmic blizzard conditions outside. If you’re anything like me, the fact that you have to put on pants is already a huge disappointment. You’ve reached the end of your queue and have already seen everything worth seeing on Netflix, so what can you do? That’s right, I have a solution that you don’t need pants for! Rent something on Video On Demand (VOD). There’s a recent trend where films are being released online before they even hit theaters, and it’s usually cheaper than the price of admission. Every week when movies come out on VOD, I’ll narrow down the best one for that week. This week’s pick is: Everly
There are few things to look forward to in January. Outrageous snow storms and terrible films aren’t one of them. Now that the month of possibly the worst movies of the year is done with, we can only hope that February delivers what it promises. So far, we’ve been given a (probably brief) respite by finally getting a film that delivers on exactly what it promises. Everly is a one woman symphony of destruction, that aspires to be only that, for better or for worse.
It’s Christmas and Everly (Salma Hayek) wakes up from what we can assume was a lot of rough and non-consensual activity. She is on the floor in a bathroom, waiting to be killed. We don’t know what lead her to this situation yet, but what we do know is what happens next. Everly manages to get a gun and fire off a few lucky shots, killing almost everyone in the room. That’s only the beginning of her problems, and coincidentally, her killing spree. She must plow through prostitutes, clash with crooked cops, and survive the showy Sadist (Togo Igawa) in order to give her mother and daughter enough money to disappear. With only the help of a guy lovingly known as Dead Man (Akie Kotabe), she must prepare to face the mob boss who originally abducted her and took her away from her family years ago.
Director Joe Lynch does a great job dealing with a film that is much less story driven, and much more character driven. With all the action taking place in a loft apartment (and the occasional hallway), there is little room for error. The action sequences are gritty and violent, but also choreographed well enough to lead us to believe that they were made intentionally crude and clumsy to fit the inexperienced character Everly. To it’s benefit, Everly plays like a video game. The view sometimes shifts into first-person shooter as she gracelessly plows down enemy after enemy, until she’s cleared the room. Level complete. Now it’s time for the mini boss, the next wave, and finally the final level leading to the big, bad boss fight. Video games are usually more fun to play, but most video games don’t have the most important element in this film: Salma Hayek.
Hayek returns to the femme fatale role that initially got her notoriety when she co-stared in films like Desperado and Once Upon a Time in Mexico (and to a lesser extent Puss in Boots). There is no doubt that this is an violent exploitation film, focusing on Hayek’s sexual appeal while the story focuses on the rape and revenge aspect. Channeling aspects of I Spit on Your Grave for the story, and Kill Bill for the action and Asian influences. If you’re expecting a deep character study like Frida, you’re in for a shock. The film isn’t without it’s many flaws, like a hackneyed script and preposterous plot, but you can’t fault Everly for it since it never promised to be anything more than it is: fun.
Everly‘s symphony of destruction is a little one note. It’s (lack of) complexity actually makes it more of a catchy can-can of carnage, starring Salma Hayek and a host of corpses. There is little to be disappointed about in a film that delivers on the dithyrambic destruction and sexualization is promises, even when you are hoping for another layer of depth. Just sit back and watch the bodies pile up.
RATING: ★★★★★★(6/10 stars)