Central Intelligence (2016) Movie Ending, Explained—Who Was The Real Black Badger?

The now-iconic screen couple of Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart first joined hands in the buddy-comedy Central Intelligence (2016). The box-office smash hit, released in 2016, was an action buddy comedy flick that marked the beginning of a series of collaborations between this idiosyncratic pair—the sturdy and macho ‘The Rock’ and the considerably short-statured Hart. In the film, the two play former classmates who are caught in a dangerous plot involving national security when one of them is revealed to be a CIA agent. Though the film employs the gimmicks and humor used previously in the genre, it is still a disposable 100-minute ride worth taking with the bombastic duo.

In this article, we explore the film’s ending and address the various cameo appearances and that clever homage sequence to Sixteen Candles (1984) towards the end! As always, here is a SPOILER ALERT for the entire movie!

Central Intelligence (2016) Plot Summary and Movie Synopsis

The film opens in the year 1996 at Central High School, where our protagonist Calvin (Kevin Hart) is set to receive the award for the student “most likely to succeed” in the future. During the same time at the school assembly, a group of bullies headed by Trevor (Dylan Boyack) decide to humiliate the overweight Robbie Weirdicht (Sione Kelepi plays a younger Robbie with Dwayne Johnson’s face superimposed onto him), who is taking a shower in the locker room. Forcefully carrying the naked Robbie out of the shower, the bullies throw him on the floor in front of the entire school assembly. While the whole school bursts into laughter, Calvin is kind enough to lend his varsity jacket to cover Robbie up. A humiliated Robbie thanks Calvin for a moment before fleeing from the crowd.

The film then jumps twenty years later—Calvin, who was once a high shot in high school, is now trapped in his monotonous nine-to-five job as an accountant. Even though Calvin ends up marrying Maggie (Danielle Nicolet), his high school sweetheart, the marriage is also hitting rock bottom. Worse of it all, his school reunion is coming fast, and Calvin is barely interested in attending—fearing that people will judge him for not living up to his earlier potential as an all-star student. Just as he is going about his extremely tedious day, Calvin receives a friend request from a certain ‘Bob Stone’ who has a pictureless Facebook profile.

After Calvin accepts the request and engages in a brief conversation with Bob, it is revealed that Bob Stone is no one but Robbie Weirdicht, the bullied student at the school. Bob suggests that the two classmates meet up for drinks, and Calvin agrees.

When the two meet up at a local bar, Calvin is shocked to see Bob/Robbie (Dwayne Johnson), who is no longer the chubby persecuted kid from high school but is a total buff with toned muscles. Calvin is initially skeptical of Bob—given his love for Sixteen Candles and Twilight. Still, when Bob takes down a bunch of armed baddies in the bar, Calvin realizes that his strength does compliment his appearance. After a fun night, Bob asks Calvin for a favor to look into his payroll international account, which also happens to be Calvin’s area of work expertise. When Calvin hacks into the website, he realizes it is an auction site. But before he can dig deeper, Bob drips beer all over the laptop, causing it to crash. Bob requests Calvin if he could spend the night at his place, and Calvin lets him sleep on the couch.

The next day, Calvin wakes up to the CIA at his door, led by Agent Harris (Amy Ryan). Agent Harris informs Calvin that they are looking for Bob, who she declares is an extremely dangerous man. A confused Calvin leads them to the couch, but Bob has already escaped by then. Calvin leads the CIA to his workplace computer, from where he had his first contact with Bob. To everyone’s surprise, Bob is already at Calvin’s office. After an extended fight sequence, he manages to evade Harris and her agents and escape with Calvin in an Uber.

Why Was The CIA After Bob?

As they are on the run from the CIA, an infuriated and shocked Calvin confronts Bob about this recent fiasco. Bob calmly explains to Calvin that he, too, is a CIA agent. Three weeks ago, he was on a mission with his partner, Phil (Aaron Paul), to locate an anonymous enemy only known as “The Black Badger.” The Black Badger had stolen the encryption keys to the U.S. spy satellite program, which he was planning to auction to terrorist groups. Just as Phil and Bob were going to the building, The Black Badger had their elevator bombed. While Bob had exited before Phil, the latter was trapped inside the elevator with his body blowing into pieces. Due to a lack of evidence about The Black Badger, the CIA refused to believe Bob’s story and suspected him of killing his partner and having access to the satellite codes.

Central Intelligence (2016)

Bob explains that he needs Calvin to use his accounting skills and track the transaction number from the winning bid. Calvin is still too numbed by the entire proceedings and refuses to partake in any of this convoluted mess. When another CIA agent attacks Bob, Calvin takes the opportunity to escape quietly on a motorbike.

What Is Agent Harris’s Proposal?

Before Calvin can successfully escape from Bob, he is captured by the CIA, led by Agent Harris. Harris reveals to Calvin that he should not trust Bob as he has recently become mentally unstable and is losing his grip on reality. She further warns him to go to Bob and share his location with the CIA so that they can catch him. After Harris’s revelations, Calvin is confused and begins to wonder if he should trust Bob.

Reluctant to be a part of this fiasco, Calvin heads to attend a couple’s therapy session with his wife. When he arrives at the doctor’s office, he finds that Bob has disguised himself as the therapist. Bob explains to Calvin that he still needs his help to hack the transaction numbers to locate The Black Badger. Calvin is caught between the devil and the deep blue sea—but decides to help his friend over Harris.

Why Do The Duo Decide To Go To Trevor, and How Does Bob Get Arrested?

Calvin mentions that they need to go to an international banking official to get the transaction number since the money originates from an offshore account. To Bob’s horror, that official turns out to be Trevor (Jason Bateman in an over-the-top cameo), the bully who had humiliated him in high school. While Trevor gives them the transaction number, he continues to taunt Bob for his manners and appearance. This meeting with Trevor reawakens Bob’s trauma and fears, and he leaves the office building utterly dejected.

Meanwhile, Calvin receives a threatening call from Agent Harris, who blackmails him into sharing Bob’s location; otherwise, she would end up arresting his wife. Calvin has no choice but to lead Agent Harris to Bob, culminating in his arrest.

Why Do The Duo Head Over To Boston?

Both Calvin and Bob are taken to an unspecified headquarters, where Harris tortures Bob to divulge the whereabouts of the encryption codes. Seeing his friend getting tortured, Calvin has a change of heart. He cleverly manages to free Bob after a brief scuffle with the agents.

Bob and Calvin manage to escape from the headquarters. On their way, Bob reveals that the transaction numbers they have are the location coordinates where the Black Badger is set to sell them to a terrorist organization. Since the location is in Boston, Bob and Calvin steal a plane to make it on time. After a while, the duo manages to make it to a Boston parking lot where the deal is supposedly taking place.

Who Was The Black Badger?

Bob heads down the underground parking lot to unmask The Black Badger while Calvin stays on top. When Calvin sees Agent Harris in the same location, he is surprised and suspects her to be the Black Badger. Calvin rushes to warn Bob, who is downstairs with the menacing gun-wielding terrorist organization and its leader (Thomas Kretschmann). When Calvin comes barging through the door announcing that Harris is the traitor, Bob suddenly shoots him in the neck. Bob reveals to the leader that he is The Black Badger and Calvin is his partner. Since he does not want to split the money, Bob explains his reason for shooting Calvin.

Central Intelligence (2016)

Just as Bob is about to sell the encryption codes to the leader, Phil appears in the same parking lot. Bob is horrified to see Phil, whom he had seen, die in the explosion. Phil reveals to the leader that he is, in fact, the actual Black Badger and Bob is just a CIA agent masquerading as the Badger. Before the deal can take place, Agent Harris appears with her team, and a shootout ensues between the terrorist members and the CIA. Amidst this scuffle, the encryption codes fall on the ground. Calvin, who is revealed to be alive, gets up and runs away with the codes. He is confronted by both Phil and Bob, landing him in a conundrum as to who is the real Black Badger.

A confused Calvin shoots Bob in the thigh but hesitates to hand over the codes to Phil. Then, Phil reveals himself to be the mastermind behind The Black Badger. In a flashback, Phil reveals that he had faked his death in the elevator by blowing up a blood bag and escaping from the exit on top.

Just as Phil is about to shoot him, Calvin distracts Phil with a backflip which buys Bob time to get up and gain the upper hand. Bob pulls Phil’s throat out (just like in the film Road House, which Bob adores) and throws his body into the river below the bridge. With The Black Badger unmasked and satellite codes saved, the duo reconcile. Bob reveals that he had only shot Calvin to save his life from the menacing terrorist gang.

What Happens At The Reunion?

With the mission finally successful, Calvin and Bob head to their high school reunion. Bob is initially hesitant, considering the trauma and bullying he faced there, but decides to go along. Towards the end of the ceremony, when it comes time to crown the homecoming king, it is revealed to be Bob. Calvin whispers to Maggie that he has hijacked the school’s computer system to change the results so that Bob can be crowned king. Everyone is surprised at the announcement, and Trevor even taunts Bob. But this time, Bob finally gains the strength to stand up to his bully and knocks him out with a punch.

Bob goes on stage and delivers a speech about being true to oneself and then strips himself naked in front of everybody—reliving the same humiliating moment from twenty years ago. But this time, Bob stands tall (and naked) without a hint of shame. Everybody cheers at Bob’s newfound courage and celebrates with him. Bob also encounters his childhood crush, Darla (Melissa McCarthy in a small cameo), and they embrace.

The Ending Scene: Sixteen Candles Homage Explained

After the reunion, the film moves forward in time. Maggie is now pregnant, and the couple has resolved their marital crisis. Calvin has resigned from his monotonous job as an accountant—officially joining the CIA with Bob as his partner. In the film’s final scene—we see Bob waiting outside Calvin’s home in a red car, imitating the iconic sequence from his favorite movie, Sixteen Candles. In John Hughes’s teen romance, we see Molly Ringwald’s character being similarly surprised by her high school crush, played by Michael Schoeffling.

Bob finally returns the varsity jacket Calvin gave him to cover his naked body twenty years ago. The duo embrace and head to their job as partners—ready to save the world from one more calamity.

Also Read: Moonshot (2022) Movie Explained: Ending & Themes Analysed

 Central Intelligence (2016) Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
Where to watch Central Intelligence
Parth Pant

Worshipper at the altar of the holy trinity of Sidney Prescott, Wes Craven, and Kevin Williamson. A connoisseur of everything related to cinema, especially the dark and depraved.