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Film / Central Intelligence

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"Saving the world takes a little Hart and a big Johnson."

Central Intelligence is a 2016 Action/Comedy film starring Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson. Calvin Joyner (Hart) peaked in high school and is now undergoing marriage problems outside of his job in the office, but his mundane life is turned upside-down when former high school loser Robbie Wierdicht turned buff CIA agent Bob Stone (Johnson), re-emerges and seeks his expert accounting skills to help end a crisis of international concern.

The film also features Danielle Nicolet, Amy Ryan, Aaron Paul, and Jason Bateman. You can view its trailer here.

Central Intelligence provides examples of:

  • Action Survivor: Calvin is a regular accountant who has to constantly stumble his way through the various fights Bob gets both of them into.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: According to Phil, while the money was a good reason to do what he did, he also turned double agent because of Bob's quirky rambling.
  • And Show It to You: Bob tears out Phil's throat after Calvin distracts him with a failed Jet-Flip.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Phil "panicking" over the bomb in the elevator and telling Bob to get away.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: In high school, Calvin was one of the only two people to show Robbie compassion (the other one being Maggie). Twenty years later, Bob will do anything to help him.
  • Berserk Button: Ever since he was dragged out of the locker room completely in the nude during an assembly, Bob Stone does not like bullies.
  • Big Bad Ensemble:
    • Pamela Harris, who would go so far as to frame Calvin's wife for treason to get Calvin to rat out Bob's location.
    • The Black Badger, AKA Phil, who wanted to frame Bob Stone out of sheer spite and annoyance.
  • Big Bad Friend:
    • The CIA claims Bob is this for Calvin since Calvin is the only associate listed for him on their database. Calvin, who only met him the previous night after 20 years, takes every opportunity to say this is not the case, which falls on deaf ears.
    • Phil, the real Black Badger, is Bob's former partner that faked his death just to get away from him.
  • Brick Joke:
    • In the beginning of the film, a then fat Robbie is thrown into the gym butt-naked and laughed at. Near the end of the film, Robbie, now buff and named Bob Stone, strips himself in front of the entire reunion, now cheered by his fellow schoolmates.
    • Calvin tries to recreate his "Golden Jet Flip" early on in the movie, and fails. Fast forward to the confrontation with Phil, the Black Badger, where he tries to Flip behind him, and fails again, leaving the Black Badger confused and unimpressed by the whole thing. Though this does distract the Big Bad long enough for Bob to rip out his throat and kick him off the bridge — like Patrick Swayze in Road House (1989), just as Bob Warned Him he'd do.
    • During his first conversation with Bob, Calvin points out that Bob never gave him back the leather jacket that he gave him to cover his nudity. During the ending scene where Bob picks up Calvin for his first day with the CIA, Bob finally gives it back to him and confesses to having used it as nightwear.
  • Buddy Picture: Bob reconnects with Calvin, the one guy who showed him any sort of kindness in high school, 20 years after the fact. Then he drags him along on a mission to stop state secrets from being leaked. They eventually become genuine friends by the end of the second act.
  • Bullying a Dragon: The movie shows two cases:
    • A group of thugs in a bar threaten Bob and Calvin over a chair. Bob demolishes them with ease.
    • For some reason, Trevor thinks it's a good idea to pick up his bullying of Robbie right where he left it off in high school, despite Bob now being a towering mountain of muscle. He gets away with it the first time, but not at the reunion.
  • The Cameo: Melissa McCarthy appears at the end as Darla McGuckian, the woman Robbie had a crush on in high school.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Bob Stone is an adorable weirdo who sometimes seems to not understand how other adults act. The movie uses this to bolster the Red Herring claims that he's the villain via being a madman.
  • Color Animal Codename: The traitor calls themselves "the Black Badger".
  • Creative Closing Credits: The credits are revealed inside black lines of redacted documents, under a teal and orange digital filter.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Calvin is completely out of his element once things get heavy, but later frees Bob from CIA custody entirely on his own initiative.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Bob takes on four tough guys in the bar, one of which is armed, and thoroughly kicks their asses in less than fifteen seconds.
  • Digital Head Swap: Used to put the Rock's face on a fat high school kid (played by body double Sione Kelepi).
  • Enhanced Interrogation Techniques: After Bob is captured, Agent Harris calls for the "extraction tools".
  • Face–Heel Turn: Phil became the Black Badger just to get away from Bob, who annoyed him immensely.
  • Fake Defector: Bob goes rogue just to find the real Black Badger. Once Phil is taken out, all is forgiven by Pamela.
  • Fingore: Agent Harris bashes Bob's hands, and later we see one of his fingers pointing the wrong way.
  • Formerly Fat: In high school, Bob was a chubby nerd; Robbie "Weird Dick" Wierdicht. As an adult he is The Rock, err... "Bob Stone."
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: At the reunion, Trevor seems to be okay with others but their faces make it clear they think it's almost sad he's going around as this jerk when they've moved on as adults. After Bob knocks Trevor out with a punch, the entire room cheers and goes on dancing, just leaving the unconscious Trevor on the floor.
  • Future Loser: Downplayed with Calvin. He was the Big Man on Campus in high school, and is still reasonably successful with a stable accounting job and a loving marriage, but he feels he hasn't gone as far as he wanted to.
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
    • Agent Harris does something unpleasant to Bob to make him talk, but it's below the level of the shot.
    • Averted later, when we see Bob's dislocated finger.
  • Hate Sink: Trevor, who ruthlessly bullied Bob in his high school years and continues to mock him after meeting up with him again. His decking from Bob at the end is totally deserved.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Pamela Harris suddenly stops acting malicious after it's revealed that Phil was the Black Badger all this time. Presumably it was all Just Business to them.
  • Hero Antagonist: Pamela Harris and the rest of the CIA. For a given definition of "hero", of course, as they have no qualms threatening the safety of Calvin's wife to get who they believed was the Black Badger.
  • Hero Insurance: Bob Stone and Calvin Joyner do a lot of questionable things to stop the bad guy, including shooting up an entire office building, wrecking an inflatable gorilla display, and stealing a helicopter, among other things.
  • Ice Queen: Pamela Harris is a strict, no-nonsense CIA agent pursuing Bob. She is always calm and collected under pressure, even when things go wrong for her. The one exception to this, however, is her two tasings of the unbelievably perverted Steve.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Bob shoots Calvin in the neck, grazing him perfectly enough to leave a convincing splatter of blood, but do him no real harm. He also goes to a lot of trouble shooting at the agents pursuing him and managing to impede them without killing them.
    • Averted with Calvin; he accidentally shoots and grazes an agent's head to get him off of Bob while fighting over the gun with another agent (in fact, Calvin was trying to relinquish the gun to the agent and get out of the fight). Later, he accidentally shoots Bob in the ass with his eyes closed, but Bob thought he did it on purpose to trick Phil into confessing to being the Black Badger.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Bob is a master of this, creating cover for himself by throwing a cartridge of printer ink at his foes and shooting it midair, splashing a cup of hot coffee in a man's face, and knocking another out with a banana.
  • Ironic Echo: "See you on the other side.", used both by Bob during Phil's alleged last meeting meeting and when Bob ultimately defeats him.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: During the climax, Calvin shoots Bob in the ass, then pulls the trigger on Phil, only to find the gun is empty. Calvin then throws the gun at him, and he catches it and loads a fresh magazine.
  • Jerk Jock: The group of guys who threw Weirdicht into the assembly naked in the first scene, particularly Trevor. The latter of which gets socked in the face in the climax of the movie.
  • Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk: Trevor so much. When Calvin and Bob meet up, Trevor initially seems to apologize to Bob, only to reveal he was joking and continues to mock Bob.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • Trevor chastises Weirdicht from the beginning to the end, even after witnessing his insane transformation into towering muscle. At the high school reunion, Stone does not hold back from decking him in the face, knocking him unconscious.
    • Calvin's coworker Steve is extremely perverted and can't stop talking about genitalia; cue him being tasered by Pamela twice in the same scene.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Guy: Bob is this for Calvin with his weird personality quirks and vaguely homoerotic feelings for Calvin. He doesn't (in the strictest terms) serve as a love interest for Calvin, but he comes along at a time in Calvin's life where he is becoming jaded and cynical, and his marriage is starting to fall apart. Bob finally gets Calvin out of his rut with a heavy dose of Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers!.
  • Mugging the Monster: The bar bullies when Calvin goes out drinking with Bob, who, when their initial target turns out to have an absolutely massive friend who reacts with calm authority to their threats, keep on escalating.
  • Naked People Are Funny: The first scene has a group of Jerk jocks throwing the then fat Robbie Weirdicht into an assembly where the entire student body sees him naked. Fittingly, the reunion twenty years later features Robbie deliberately shedding his clothes and embracing his naked, now rock hard body.
  • Nice Guy: Stone is a friendly, jovial guy to anyone that isn't a bully or trying to kill him. Calvin was this in high school as well, giving the naked Robbie his jacket while everyone else either laughed or stayed on the sidelines. He grew out of this as an adult, but his camaraderie with Bob over the course of the movie causes this side of him to come back.
  • No Name Given: Thomas Kretschmann is simply "The Buyer" even in the credits and on IMDB.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Calvin is forced to betray Bob to the CIA when Harris threatens to arrest his wife. Bob calls Calvin his best friend and assures him that he's the only one he trusts, guilting Calvin into confessing he betrayed him.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: A specialty of Bob Stone's, constantly startling Calvin and generally Played for Laughs.
  • Only Friend: Bob tells Calvin that he is his only friend. This is particularly sad considering they have not spoken in 20 years and the only interaction they were shown having younger was Calvin helping Bob while everyone else laughed at him.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Played With, one scene has Bob Stone masquerading as a therapist in an attempt to get Calvin and his wife apart, though it's extremely obvious to the audience and Calvin. Calvin's wife, however, completely falls for it even after her husband freaks out from it.
  • Punny Last Name: Robbie Weirdicht, which might explain why Robbie changed his named to "Bob Stone".
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Stone wears a shirt with a unicorn on it, a fanny pack, and loves '80s schlock like Sixteen Candles and Road House (1989).
    Stone: I'll never be like Molly Ringwald!
  • "Rashomon"-Style: Three versions of Phil's death are shown. A tragic one from Stone's point of view, the official CIA version where Stone is the villain who killed him, and the real one where Phil faked his death and visibly hated Stone's quirky behavior.
  • Red Herring: Two for the Black Badger. One is that Bob Stone is insane and made the Badger up, to the point where he commits the Badger's crimes. The other is Pam Harris, which Calvin believes. It's really Stone's assumed-dead partner.
  • Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: Trevor. When Bob is reunited with him, he at first appears very sorry for what he did in high school, before revealing that he was acting and then starts insulting Bob. At the reunion, Trevor gets right up in Bob's face, mocking him as "scared little bitch"... and after Bob knocks him out with a single punch, the entire class cheers to show how they've all moved on and find Trevor's behavior annoying.
  • Shot in the Ass: Calvin grazes Bob in the butt to make him drop to the ground and leave Phil vulnerable.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Bob is fond of Sixteen Candles and Road House (1989).
    • Maggie remarks that Calvin sounds "Like Ray Liotta at the end of Goodfellas".
    • The buyer quotes the "Honey Badger Don't Give A F***" YouTube meme to mock how overly melodramatic he thinks the "Black Badger" codename is.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Bob must be CIA Batman for how often he drops in and out of scenes whilst people are talking.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: Bob assumes that Calvin shot him in the ass to trick Phil into admitting to being the Black Badger. Calvin does not attempt to disabuse him of this.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Trevor and his gang fit the bill when they were in high school, humiliating Bob in the gymnasium. Though the rest of Bob's classmates have matured since the past 20 years, Trevor hasn't changed one bit.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Phil drops one of these towards the film's climax, poking fun at a certain other famous role of Aaron Paul's.
  • Throwing Your Gun at the Enemy: Calvin runs out of ammo and throws his gun at the bad guy... the bad guy just catches it and then pops up in a new clip.
  • Took a Level in Badass: After being humiliated at the beginning of the film, Stone spends the next twenty years grinding levels in badass, and it certainly shows.
  • Unflinching Walk: Subverted. When Stone blows up a car, Joyner hurriedly walks away and flinches when the grenade goes off without actually turning around.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Calvin receives two versions of Phil's death; one is from Bob, who claims the Black Badger lured them into a trap and killed Phil as Bob looked on helplessly; the other is from Pam, who claims Bob betrayed and murdered Phil. One of them must be lying. They're both wrong; Phil faked his death to frame Bob. However, it's still a downplayed case for Bob, as Bob's version has Phil begging him to flee while Phil's version has him acting flippant throughout.