Critic Consensus: Everly benefits from Joe Lynch's stylish direction and Salma Hayek's starring work, but it's too thinly written and sleazily violent to fully recommend.
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Critic Reviews for Everly
The film's brutality - which includes not only the murder of a dog but also a fetishization of torture that borders on porn - is so excessive, even if tongue-in-cheek, that it leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
If the film does anything right, it reminds us that now-48-year-old Hayek is one heck of a forceful presence when she is allowed to be.
Feels precision-engineered for a morally torn fanboy who likes the idea of female empowerment but needs it served with a heavy dose of torture porn and glistening flesh.
Salma Hayek plays a sex slave turned killer in this stylish but lumbering actioner.
What on earth is Salma Hayek doing starring in this exploitative, junky piece of torture trash?
Audience Reviews for Everly
"That's a lot of dead whores." Salma Hayek stars as Everly in this gritty and ultraviolent action film. A quaint little Christmas story, Everly, a prostitute who's been enslaved for four years, tries to escape from the apartment complex that she's been held captive in and reunite with her estranged mother and child, but first she'll have to fight her way through dozens of henchman and assassins. The action scenes and fight choreography are well-done, and bring a lot of energy to the film. Yet the tone stays rather light by using black comedy to alleviate the violence. However, limiting the scope to a single apartment and a hallway gives a rather cheap, B-movies feel to the film. And aside from Hayek, the performances aren't that good. Everly has its moments, but mostly it's just mindless action and gratuitous violence.
This is one of those movies you'd swear blind was directed by Luc Besson, you only have to look at the movies poster. The plot is not so much about a femme fatale but, as I'm sure you can guess, its about a female that does indeed manage to kill lots of ass. So, sexy female...check, sexy female brandishing huge guns...check, female character name is movie title...check...yeah that's about it really. Its amazing how many times we've seen this idea these days, just off the top of my head there has been 'Colombiana', 'Lucy', 'Hanna' and of course going further back many more (you notice two of the movies I mention are Besson movies). Yeah so the plot (if you haven't already guessed) basically revolves around a mother who has been kidnapped by Japanese gangsters and used as a prostitute for the last 4 years. She has been held prisoner within a lavish block of flats the whole time. The film picks up at a point where she has managed to get a gun and kill off some of the mob. She is still trapped within the building, on the same floor, in the same apartment, but the gangster boss has put out a contract on her head, hence everyone after her. From this point onwards she must take down every gangster, hitman and crazy prostitute that comes at her. We all know what to expect with this, its so blatantly obvious from the start, throw in a dash of Robert Rodriguez and a hint of Tarantino and voila. The action is fast and brutal in a true graphic novel style (think 'Kick-Ass'), there is a shittonne of gore and blood flying about and the movie makes no excuses for any of it. The movie actually plays out like a videogame of sorts, the heroine must take out each wave of bad guys as they increase in difficulty, until she manages to reach the final end of game boss. Naturally each opponent is different from the last to spice things up, you have standard suit wearing thugs bearing guns, crazy skimpily clad hookers bearing knives, freaks in traditional Japanese dress with demonic Hannya masks, tooled up gangster S.W.A.T. teams, and finally the smartly dressed, smooth talking boss. Our heroine, played by Salma Hayek, is sexy as you would expect, she looks good holding these big guns and knives, and she a bigass Japanese tattoo on her back which is lovely. Her weakness is the fact she's not an out and out powerhouse of a person, she's not a killer, she's a mother with child. To escape her predicament she must learn to kill and look the other way, which she does pretty quickly. Its also handy that she appears to be invincible, she gets shot right at the start, admittedly just a flesh wound but still...wouldn't she slowly bleed out? Although she does pick up one wound after another up until the finale, but she manages to do very well against trained killers and assassins. Other than the fact the film is obviously not to be taken seriously and picked apart (I'll do that anyway), you can't help but roll your eyes and wonder why. At the very start Everly could quite easily have left the building as far as I'm concerned, but she messes around talking to an injured gangster. During the whole movie there are ample amounts of weaponry lying around from killed bad guys, surely she could tool up herself and shoot her way out, why stay in the apartment? I also find it amazingly hard to imagine no one else in this block, or the surrounding area, thought to call the police. All the gunfire, screams, blood, explosions etc...and nothing! yeah sure the bad guys clear the block and probably have influence in the area but Jesus someone surely would have, even a passer by. Nope the cops all conveniently turn up at the end when everything has finished. At the start Everly is escorted back into the apartment when she does try to leave (eventually), I'm guessing they were bend cops or security guards? The cardinal sin which I really can't get my head around in this movie is the point when Everly gets her mother and daughter to come to the apartment. OK both of them are under threat from the gangsters and she wants to protect them...but telling them to come into the gangster nest?? into the shitstorm!! What does she expect to do?? she brings them directly into the line of fire where anything can happen, surely it would have been better to get them to go to the nearest police station or flee the city. Yes the movie is very slick, highly stylised and it does boast some quirky bad guys and hardcore action sequences. The problem is we've seen this literately a fuckzillion times before, Besson himself has done the same shit over and over again and no matter how gloriously bloody and over the top it is, that doesn't change. Going back to the movies poster, you can see what its about, you don't even have to look anything up (its just the same as the 'Colombiana' poster!). Yes there are gonna be people who love this kind of thing, I do like a good action flick myself, but this whole premise has been ridiculously milked to the point of no return. The film also suffers from nasty CGI tampered action and blood shots which always look obvious and hokey. If you like a rampaging action fest with bucket loads of blood and fighting then this is for you. The movie offers nothing more than that, there is no real story or backstory, nothing is really meant to be serious or make much sense, the action is deliberately outrageous, the dialog and acting is generally below par...and the director knows it. That was clearly the aim, no excuses, bang for your buck. On that front it succeeds, but overall its an all too common thing which offers absolutely nothing new, as such for me I found it completely boring.
I was not sure if this was supposed to be humourous in its violence or intent but I struggled to actually finish watching this without feeling my time was wasted. Disjointed and terrible at times. Not even Salma Hayek, who doesn't even seem to want to try to act and be believable can save this.