Central Intelligence | Movie Review

Kernel Blake reviews the latest buddy “cop” movie, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE. A somewhat B-grade attempt at a comedic duo that is interrupted by Kevin Hart’s grating screech that Kernel Blake found slightly reminiscent of Joe Pesci in the LETHAL WEAPON franchise. When will someone steer Johnson on a proper career path, into greatness, where he belongs? CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE is out now from the fine folks at Universal Pictures Australia, it is rated M and run for 108mins. Enjoy Blake’s thoughts on the movie…….all the best…….JK.


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When was the last time you can remember watching a genuinely funny, laugh-out-loud comedy in cinemas? (Ed’s Note: DEADPOOL, HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE :)).  I’ve been trying to think back over the last few years and am honestly drawing a blank. Admittedly, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is not the first person you think of to headline a gut-busting action/comedy, pairing him with pint sized comedic dynamo Kevin Hart though, sure makes for a tantalizing proposition of excessive guffaws. Even the marketing for CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE seemed to be promising much in the laughs department, promoting the film with the seriously great tagline “To save the world takes a little Hart…and a big Johnson”.


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It’s a shame then that the tagline for CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE is the smartest and funniest part of CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE. Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, fresh off the very entertaining WE’RE THE MILLERS and DODGEBALL, the film starts back in the mid-90s where social outcast Robbie Weirdich (the aforementioned Big Johnson) is showering in the high school gym, busting out some dance moves and singing his chubby heart out.

When a bunch of bullies drag Robbie (Johnson CGI’d into a fat dude with an afro) out of the showers and throw him buck-ass naked into the school’s auditorium full of students, he is mortified. That is until Calvin “The Golden Jet” (Kevin Hart), backflip aficionado and most popular guy in school, steps up to offer his jacket to cover Robbie Weirdich’s weird dick…. (Oh, nooooow I get it).


Cut to twenty years later and on the verge of his twenty year high school reunion. Calvin, once voted most likely to succeed, is stuck in a rut. His high school glory days are behind him. After being passed over for a promotion in his role as forensic accountant, he questions his life both in the office and with his high school sweetheart now wife. However, when a Facebook friend request comes in from someone called Bob Stone who said they went to school together and they should catch up for a drink, Calvin begrudgingly accepts, hoping to recapture some of his lost glory with a former classmate.

Turns out Bob is in fact Robbie from high school, albeit now a hulking behemoth of a man that is The Rock. Bob made his change from fat loner to granite chiseled Adonis via the simple method of “working out six hours a day, every day for the past twenty years.” Still placing Calvin on a pedestal after all these years for helping him out on the worst day of his life, the big lug asks Calvin for some help with the payroll account of his current job.


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Turns out, Bob is now in the CIA (CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE, see) and hot on the heels of a nefarious underworld figure known as The Black Badger who is trying to buy top secret satellite codes for….reasons (Ed’s note: you get massive points from me for using the word “nefarious.”). The plot is a little convoluted and muddy, I admit, and we never really find out the reasoning behind all this. Anyway, turns out Calvin, luckily, is the only one that can help Bob track the Badger but when CIA agents close in on the pair, they tell Calvin that Bob is a rogue agent and the Black Badger himself.

Not knowing who to trust Calvin does his best to keep away from Bob while keeping his marriage intact and out of any danger. That doesn’t go to plan as he is once again roped into Bob’s world whether he likes it or not to help uncover the truth. What follows in CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE is some pretty decent action set pieces which showcases Johnson’s ability to kick ass and Hart’s ability to screech like a petulant child, my deity he gets irritating. In the end, the truth is revealed, albeit telegraphed so obviously it’s not really much of a surprise, but the good guys win and the bad guys lose.


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Johnson is far and away the star of the show here, showing his great comedic timing and well known ability to decimate a room of goons with his sheer hugeness. Hart on the other hand really grates for a lot of this film, almost channeling Joe Pesci’s incredibly irritating Leo Getz character from the Lethal Weapon films. In the moments where he tones it down, he’s fine and the chemistry between himself and Johnson works quite well.

Some pretty great cameos from the likes of Aaron Paul (who has a great BREAKING BAD throwback), the always great Jason Bateman and an uncredited female comic actor are thrown into the mix to offer up some genuinely funny moments. On the whole CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE often falls flat with its humour which is really disappointing considering the track record of the cast and crew behind it.


It’s a real shame that Johnson stars in so many films that are only watchable because he’s in them, instead of being great in great movies like the Stallone’s, Schwarzenegger’s and even Statham’s of the past. Instead he’s stuck in a pretty average buddy comedy with a co-star that has his good moments mixed in with a lot of bad. If you’re a fan of Hart’s shtick you can probably add an extra kernel to the score but for me CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE was average at best, a disappointing action comedy who’s marketing and mid credits gag reel were the best parts of it.


2 and a Half Pops



Kernel Blake is a part-time beard bandit, philanthropist, industrialist….bicyclist…photographer, world traveller, movie lover, a man of few words who enjoys the finer things in life, like reciting Snake Plissken quotes. And when all that fails, heads out to a racetrack to do skids. Can be found twatting @bcurrall80 and hipstergramming @bcurrall80

** All images courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor/publisher – credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.


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