Everly (Salma Hayek) has made some bad choices in her life that led her here. Her recent decision; that just might kill her.
Phone Booth with Dying
Director Joe Lynch last brought us the LARPer fantasy horror, Knights of Badassdom. We reviewed that fun 80s style fantasy hair-metal adventure which featured an ensemble cast that included Peter Dinklage and Ryan Kwanten among others. This time out he’s chosen to tackle a single character actioner and has employed the talented Salma Hayek (From Dust Till Dawn, Desperado, Grown Ups). Although most know Hayek for her supporting roles, she has had some experience as leading lady having played the title character in the film FRIDA. More importantly, she has a ton of experience kicking butt and taking names. So, how does she fair? Pretty good actually.
Hayek plays Everly, a former drug addict forcibly turning tricks to pay off her debts. She’s living along with other sex slaves in a high rise, each with their own room where they live and work out of; for the duration of their servitude. The film doesn’t start at the beginning though. We’re thrust into the last hours of her life where we learn that she’s turned states evidence against her captures in order to get out of the untenable compact she’s found herself in. She’s a broken woman when we meet her. Scared out of her mind that her jailers are going to figure out she’s working with the feds and she’s contemplating suicide as an option. The rest of the film is her journey from this battered woman at the end of her rope to a strong and capable take-charge protagonist determined to take control of her life into her own hands.
Throughout the movie, Everly endures horrific physical and emotional stresses and Hayek’s skills help to truly embody and bring to life what must have been a grueling role. The writing and direction betrays her at turns, but she manages to pull through to the conclusion.
The movie is an actioner first and foremost and Lynch appears to have spent most of his time concentrating on that aspect. The story takes place largely in Everly’s room so, we get to witness a formerly pristine getup demolished by knives and swords and bullets and bombs. There’s a ton of varied killers and killing implements including one of the highlights of the film — a sadistic torturer with a number of deadly tricks up his sleeves. The downside to the action sequences is that most of the fights are annoyingly brief. If you’re wondering how the choreography stacks up against current heavyweights, the short answer is not very well. The action doesn’t suck by any means; if you’re an aficionado of the genre you won’t be impressed, but you’ll have a good time — then promptly forget it all. If you’re not a frequenter of the bash’em-up film category then you’ll probably be pretty satisfied.
Bottom line I recommend this film at least as a rental. Salma Hayek’s performance is strong and the action is fun while it lasts. You can check your brain at the door though; you won’t need it.