Calvin Joyner was voted in high school the guy most likely to succeed. 20 years later he's an accountant. As his high school reunion approaches, he tries to make contact with his old schoolmates. And someone named Bob Stone contacts him. He says that he was known as Robbie Weirdicht in school. Calvin remembers that he was picked on, as a matter of fact after an extremely nasty prank he left school. They agree to meet and Calvin is surprised by how much he has changed. Bob asks Calvin to help him out. He says yes and the next thing he knows some men burst into his home. They're CIA, the one in charge is looking for Stone, she says he's a rogue agent. When they can't find Bob they leave. Later he approaches Calvin telling him, he is not a rogue agent, he's trying to find a person known as the Black Badger who is planning to sell some information that in the wrong hands can be disastrous. so he needs Calvin's help to stop him. Calvin's not sure whom he should believe.Written by
Now I will state from the start that Kevin Hart as a comedian has never appealed to me and so therefore that also translates into his films having never been intrigued enough to go see one of his (some of the critical receptions bare this out) but this is obviously where that trend ends for me.
In this 'mismatched' buddy action comedy both Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson seem to have stumbled upon some fabulous comedic chemistry that I most certainly didn't see coming.
Having stated my indifference earlier to Kevin Hart I am at the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to Dwayne Johnson, a man, an actor who probably shouldn't be as successful as he is...yet I can't resist his charms, there is just something inherently likable about the man as an on screen presence and as an actor in general and that is no different here.
Quick plot synopsis now, flashback to high school, Hart is Mr. Popular, Johnson is the school joke, flash-forward twenty years to the present day where after a social media inspired meetup if would appear maybe that now the two have switched places in life (quite a common story arc) and what may also be certainly more concerning for Hart is the fact that Johnson may appear to be a spy on the run, so ensues a parade of nifty chase sequences some rather inspired and choreographed escape fighting scenes interspersed of course with Hart chipping in with comedic observations of their currently absurd predicament. There is in particular a scene where Johnson has replaced the role of a therapist who is about to give marriage counsel to Hart and his wife and it is extremely funny.
This should not of entertained me as much as it did and trust me I am as surprised as anyone that it got many laughs out of me, it certainly does remind me in parts to 21 Jump Street, what I mean by that is it being a nice comedic surprise of a film that has the laughs but actually does in part also have a heart in place, or as the brilliant marketing department said on the films tagline and posters 'It takes a little Hart and a big Johnson' just superb.
I was a little concerned after the films opening which I mentioned earlier is a flashback to high school where we see the rather unsubtle face of Johnson transposed onto the head and body of a rather overweight kid but the film got out of that just pure weird territory quicker than expected, yes not every joke hits the mark but the success to failure rate is amply way on the positive side of things and the pace and action is brisk enough that it never overstays its welcome which is very surprising given the near two hour feature length running time.
But I suppose the main question that does have to be asked though is 'who is the Black Badger' maybe I'm the Black Badger, as Thomas Kretschmann brilliantly puts it.
So it's not particularly going to change the comedic landscape out there but it more than succeeds in keeping you very entertained throughout mainly thanks to the great comedic chemistry that Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson bring to the party.
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