Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Amy Ryan
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Running Time: 107 mins
Central Intelligence is an American film about a former high school prom king who crosses paths with his grade’s dweeb online, who now works for the CIA. After a night on the town together, he soon becomes embroiled in a complex case with no-one he can fully trust.
I don’t know how it happened, but I was absolutely blown away by this film. Kevin Hart’s never been my favourite comedy star, and whilst he’s a charismatic actor, Dwayne Johnson has never really shown a great range before. However, Central Intelligence blows that completely out of the water, with two hilarious central performances, surrounded by a stunningly unpredictable and exciting espionage plot, thrilling action, and one of the most entertaining movies you’ll see all year.
Let’s start with the two men at the centre of this brilliant film. Like I said, Hart and Johnson are two actors that almost always play the same role. In Central Intelligence, Kevin Hart isn’t so different to the norm, but he pulls off some incredible chemistry with Dwayne Johnson, whose performance is utterly fantastic at every moment.
Whilst giving off the appearance as his typically muscle-bound and charismatic self, what really impressed me about Johnson’s performance was how he brought across his character’s nerdy and shy personality. He may get into some epic fights and chases with his CIA expertise, but Johnson’s character is actually very far flung from what he normally does, and the fact that he pulls off such a different persona so convincingly was stunning to see.
The real stand-out from the performances, however, is the chemistry between the two leads. Hart and Johnson are great on their own here, but the way that they play off of one another is the fundamental reason that this film is so full of laughs too. The plot plays a big part too, and I’ll get into that soon, but the comedy that comes from the two main actors sparring or hitting it off as best friends is always fantastic, and it makes for countless laughs throughout, adding to the entertainment factor of this amazing movie.
However, what I was most surprised, and also impressed, by in this movie was how exciting the espionage story is. There are so many spy comedies, and even the best (Spy, Austin Powers etc.) don’t really pull off a thrilling plot. Central Intelligence, on the other hand, is a non-stop thrill ride full of unpredictability and rapid-fire action to go with its excellent comedy.
The film centres mostly on Kevin Hart torn between trusting either Dwayne Johnson or a CIA operative played by Amy Ryan. Normally, I would expect this to be played out in the most predictable way, but this film does an incredible job at keeping you guessing as to who is on what side, and it genuinely lasts right up to the finale.
There is one brief period where the film leans towards one party being on the good side, and it’s definitely not as enthralling, but that proved to me that it was the story and the unpredictability of the main characters’ allegiances that really made this film such an entertaining watch. Hilarious it may be, but I can guarantee that you will be stunned at how well Central Intelligence plays out its crime story from start to finish.
Overall, I loved pretty much every moment of this movie. I wasn’t expecting much more than a fun buddy comedy, but in addition to some hugely funny comedy and brilliant performances, I got a thrilling and genuinely unpredictable espionage story that kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. I’m still pretty bewildered by how massively entertaining this film is, but I’m going to give Central Intelligence an 8.6.