Central Intelligence Review
By Soumyajit Ray
Edited by Anthony Zangrillo
When I planned to go to the screening of Central Intelligence, my hopes were really high. I was very impressed with Dwayne Johnson’s remarkable acting in previous action comedies. Here, Johnson teams with the comedy genius Kevin Hart in a spy-game action comedy. This movie basically presents a serious CIA investigation in a hilarious parcel.
The movie starts with an overweight student named Robbie Weirdicht (Dwayne Johnson), who was bullied because of his obesity. In one prize distribution ceremony at Central High School, Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart) was being recognized by his school principal Kent (Phil Reeves), when Robbie was badly humiliated. Though all of his fellow students laughed at him, only Calvin “The Golden Jet” helped him to ease his embarrassment.
Eventually, Robbie left school, went off the grid for 20 years and resurfaced again as a different person all together. He becomes a bad ass CIA super-agent named Bob Stone who is in pursuit of an arms trafficker named The Black Badger. But instead of showcasing “The Rock’s” fierce attitude, this movie shows that Bob still has not recovered from the torment by his old schoolmate Trevor (Dylan Boyack) on the last day at school. Now, in his career as an agent when he has been framed for his partner Phil’s (Aaron Paul) murder, and he was running away from CIA to prove his innocence, he seeks help from the only person who was ever kind to him at school, Calvin. As Calvin learns that his once fat friend now works for CIA, the first thing that comes to his mind: “Are you joking with me right now?”
Calvin was expected to do lots of great stuff in life, but instead, he is stuck in an accounting job, frustrated with his life and fighting to keep a healthy relation with his wife. Calvin can’t even do his old famous backflips! Yet as he meets Bob, he starts reliving his golden days. Accustomed to his peaceful daily routine, Calvin is scared to join Bob in his thrilling mission to catch Black Badger. Additionally, Calvin does not want to go back to their school reunion as he has not lived up to the class’s lofty expectations. Thus, when Bob wants him by his side to crack the last piece of the Black Badger puzzle, Calvin stubbornly sticks to his decision, “I’m not in, I am out”. As a result, the story of the movie revolves around Bob convincing his friend to join him and expose The Black Badger.
Overall, the movie was entertaining. Undoubtedly, it is not the best comedy movie of 2016, but Dwayne Johnson acted really well. Partnering with him, Hart was reliably funny too in his trademarked expressions and style. However, in many places, Hart was overshadowed by the people’s champ. At some points, I felt that the movie was becoming a bit lengthy, some jokes are not that great, and the script is not too strong, but it will make you laugh anyway. I liked the resolution of bob and Calvin’s internal strife, making for a fitting ending of the characters’ arcs.
Central Intelligence is a movie, which espouses an anti-bullying message in a lighter tone by taking audiences on a joyride with flamboyant and reliable actors resulting in a multitude of belly laughs.