Central Intelligence

Year: 2016
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Amy Ryan, Jason Bateman
Written by Dalton Brown

“I’m going into this with little-to-no expectations”, I thought to myself. “How bad can it be?” I said. I mean, Kevin Hart annoys me greatly but I think Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson can be entertainingly bad…if given the freedom to do so. So how was ‘Central Intelligence’ exactly? Was it good? Was it bad? The answer is…it was what I expected, and a little more.

Let me start by stating – emphasising if you will – my very strong disdain towards Kevin Hart. He’s obnoxious, and not even in the funny way. I don’t like his attitude and I don’t like him. However, I thought he was pretty solid alongside Will Ferrell in ‘Get Hard’, but I think that’s because he was given the restraint he so desperately needed. This is what I was hoping to see in ‘Central Intelligence’ and, luckily, he was restrained. I mean, he’s still Kevin Hart doing what Kevin Hart does – being loud and pretending he’s saying something funny – but he wasn’t as obnoxious as usual; he was bearable.

Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber – known for, most notably, ‘Dodgeball’ (and also ‘We’re The Millers’) – ‘Central Intelligence’ is an action-comedy. Sometimes these two genres blend together nicely – just watch ’21 Jump Street’ and ’22 Jump Street’, you’ll see what I mean – and then there are other times when these two genres should never come into contact with one another; like ‘Ride Along’ and/or ‘The Heat’ for example. Now, I would probably place ‘Central Intelligence’ somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, which isn’t a bad result, all things considered.

This is an action-comedy that’s more focused on being “badass” rather than being actually funny. That’s not to say you won’t laugh, just don’t expect to laugh out loud much. There are funny parts sure, but I found myself subtly chuckling rather than actually laughing. This is sort of where the film lost me though; it tried so hard to appeal to a wide demographic, but stumbled over itself upon doing so. I’m not saying the film is bad, per se, I’m just saying it has a lot of things going for it and it only touches upon, I’d say, about 25% of those things. There’s jokes that don’t go very far and some of the subplots could have been explored better, but hey, that’s not enough to break the movie.

The movie does end up being broken though, regardless, and the real self-destruct moment comes towards the end of the film. The end is long and drawn out, but that’s not the problem entirely. No, the problem is how anti-climactic the conclusion is. The movie does a great a job at building tension, and then, within a fraction of a millisecond, all tension disappears. Thankfully, this is at, or near, the end. Still, I was left feeling incredibly underwhelmed.

Ending aside, I was pleasantly surprised with ‘Central Intelligence’. Dwayne Johnson seemed like he was having fun for once and this really resonated with me; I found that it actually made me have fun too. The chemistry between Johnson and Hart was pretty good as well; not great, but it’s passable. You know, that’s the word I’d use to describe this whole thing actually – “passable”. It ended up being a nice surprise, and it’s not a terrible film by any means (lord knows we’ve had worse this year). I think I’d even go as far as to recommend it to others, just.

Dalton’s rating: 5.0 out of 10
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