Sometimes, a sexy woman with a remarkable aptitude for killing is enough to make a film thoroughly watchable. Unfortunately for Joe Lynch’s Everly, this is not the case. Occasionally striking, but ultimately disjointed, this blood and gore extravaganza never comes close to the claustrophobic Die Hard-style epic it wants to be.
After some clumsily scripted allusions and unexplained murders, we soon discover that the predictably attractive Everly (Salma Hayek) is trapped in a swanky apartment under the control of an evil Yakuza don. When her master discovers she has been in contact with the police, he places a £50k bounty on her head. From then on she must face wave after wave of assassination attempts while desperately trying to protect her mother and child who she hasn’t seen for four years.
If it sounds frustratingly implausible, it is. Everly’s mysterious proficiency in the wielding of automatic weapons is just one of a string of storyline elements that just don’t add up. The believability of Everly isn’t helped by the fact that its female protagonist is the only developed character in the whole film. Due to the unusually singular focus on its female star, the structure of the film is such that all the other characters have only cameo roles. This is in spite of their often vital importance to the plot, creating a spate of undeveloped loose ends and preventing any true attachment to Everly or the characters around her.
Lynch’s specialty, though, is gore, and in this area you won’t be disappointed. The exaggerated violence is pretty much non-stop and is undeniably thrilling at times. Inevitably, the ability of both Everly and those chasing her to respawn in video game fashion after being apparently fatally wounded is slightly preposterous and repetitive, but it certainly makes for some exhilaratingly epic fight scenes. Bullet wounds, sulphuric burns and bazooka explosions are all expertly depicted in a spectacularly graphic manner; one would expect nothing less considering this aspect is the saving grace of an otherwise ineffective story.
Regrettably, these impressive special effects don’t quite cover the significant faults littered through the script, plot and characterisation. A bloodied and exploited Selma Hayek may well attract plenty of male sympathy, but Everly as a whole fails to draw the viewer into the suffocating world of its heroine.
Everly is released nationwide on 26th June 2015
Watch the trailer for Everly here: