There is really something truly great about female action heroes. Hot chicks with guns who kick ass provide for some of the more entertaining cinematic fare. Women scorned who get revenge on predominantly male oppressors has been a crowd-pleasing formula for decades. From the Pam Grier blaxploitation flicks of the 1970s to Sigourney Weaver in the Alien franchise to Jennifer Lawrence in the more recent The Hunger Games films, let’s face it, audiences like to see strong women on film strike back against evil. The new Salma Hayek actioner Everly is just what the people want and it is certainly a bloody good time. Sure, it bears a striking resemblance to Kill Bill but that’s okay because it delivers the goods and then some.
Meet Everly (Hayek), a beautiful prostitute who works for and is basically a slave to Taiko (Hiroyuki Watanabe), a sadistic crime boss with an army of henchmen at his disposal. The film opens with Everly evading a group of the armed goons in her luxurious Manhattan apartment. Naked, frightened and alone, Everly manages to hit her attackers where it hurts with bullets, knives and pretty much anything else she can get her hands on. Throughout the film, Taiko toys with Everly in a sick demented game where her pain is his pleasure. But in one night, the true meaning of revenge is revealed as the titular heroine steamrolls through these nasty villains.
Everly is pretty much a combination of many action films that have come before it. That’s not to say that this is a particualary bad film. It just has a strong sense of familiarity. Fans of the genre should appreciate what director Joe Lynch (Holliston, Thirsty) has done here. He’s basically pulled a Quentin Tarantino by pushing the female action hero into the spotlight and made the story revolve around her rather than her revolving around the story. Kill Bill is a major influence here as bullets fly and swords slice through human flesh in many of the scenes. You can tell Lynch really enjoyed filming the action sequences because they are done in a way that is full of intensity and raw energy.
Salma Hayek is in fine form here. She is totally convincing in a role that was originally intended for Kate Hudson. Everly is a woman thrust into a situation beyond her control and her troubling situation even brings her mother (Laura Cepeda) and adorable little daughter (Aisha Ayamah) into the mix. This only adds to tension and serves the movie quite well. While Everly isn’t a film masterpiece, it is 92 minutes of violent fun. Viewers are in for a treat, a sensory experience that is usually handled rather poorly. But the action choreography is on point in this relatively solid thrill ride. Everly gives audiences a chance a side of Hayek we haven’t seen since Robert Rodriguez’s El Mariachi films and this return to action hero is a welcome one indeed. Not only fans of Hayek should take not but fans of the genre as a whole because Everly is definitely a movie worthy of one’s time.