Salt Directed by: Phillip Noyce Cast: Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, Chiwetel Ejiofor Running Time: 1 hr 39 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: July 23, 2010
PLOT: After Evelyn Salt (Jolie) has spent years working for the CIA, a man walks in to their headquarters and accuses Salt of being a Russian spy, who will kill the Russian president.
WHO'S IT FOR? Need a woman to kick a little butt? If you want to watch Jolie high-speed chase her way out of trouble on numerous occasions, then this movie is for you. Don't go if you're hooked on the mystery this film is attempting to show in previews.
EXPECTATIONS: Phillip Noyce has worked with Jolie before with The Bone Collector. He's also done Patriot Games, which was a while ago, but I figured you don't forget how to film an action scene.
Angelina Jolie as Evelyn Salt: For months now, you've been wondering, "Who is Evelyn Salt?" Actually, that's not true. Neither have I. Turns out, she's a pretty tough nut to crack. The film starts with her in a prisoner exchange in North Korea. Her boyfriend got her out. Not the CIA, who employs her. Then it's a game of is she or isn't she a Russian spy. Don't worry, I won't give it away here. Though I have to say, while Jolie can kick ass with the best of them, I was never compelled to feel anything for this character. Going from near tears to stone faced was something I never bought with Salt. Score: 6
Liev Schreiber as Ted Winter: Ted is Evelyn's partner at the CIA and they play off of each other perfectly. He can't believe it when she's accused of being a spy. Schreiber delivers some dry one-liners, and that will make you chuckle a couple of times with Ted. The rest of the time you'll simply be amazed he's in the right place with the right people the rest of the film. Score: 6
Chiwetel Ejiofor as Peabody: Based on the character Mister Peabody from the animated series "Rocky and His Friends," Ejiiofor perfectly captures the spirit of the brainiac dog. Oh wait, my bad. I guess that's just a name coincidence. Instead, the talented Ejiofor is all but wasted as the wanna be Tommy Lee Jones type who will stop at nothing to bring in Salt. Score: 4
TALKING: I didn't do it. Yes you did. You're a spy. No I'm not ... and repeat! That's the bulk of the dialogue. They dive back into the history books and give us flashes of the past to try and explain the big picture. As far as the motivations of Salt, it's all very under explained. Score: 3
SIGHTS: Jolie's running looks a little too proper, so I can't sign her up to the "Hollywood Running All-Stars" with Tom Cruise and Matt Damon as the co-captains. She jumps down elevator shafts with the greatest of ease. There also seems to always be just one more car she can jump on top of to get away. It all looks pretty slick and never jams us too much with SCS (Shaky Camera Syndrome). I might have even been able to go higher if it wasn't for the make-up job to make Salt look like a man. Ouch. That was worth a laugh during the movie. Score: 7
SOUNDS: It's what you would expect with just enough high voltage booming to keep you entertained during the action. Speaking of sounds here, it's amazing how the characters easily went into a thick Russian accent in a moment's notice. Score: 5
BEST SCENE: The first time she's got to get away from those trying to chase her down, Salt goes on a high speed truck, car, motorcycle chase that will keep you entertained.
ENDING: Wow, that was a really aggressive, awkward kill. Once again though, I didn't feel any of the emotion that Salt put into it, so it just made me chuckle. If you're scoring at home, I correctly predicted the ending about 30 minutes into it. That didn't hurt or help the fun factor though. Also, one more thing ... Ne bolyee. That means "No more" in Russian. Please keep that in mind Salt.
QUESTIONS: Does Hollywood make a summer blockbuster movie with the potential that our leading action hero is on the side of evil?
REWATCHABILITY: No, I'll watch the Bourne Trilogy if I need chase sequences that matter.
We begin with Jolie blonde and beaten. We later realize she can handle herself. It's just that the mission she's on doesn't matter. Sure, I care about the Russian President and our country as well, but I don't ever feel like the movie steps up to try and explain what it cared about.
Inception was able to perfectly balance a dream within a dream within a dream. Salt was never able to find much fun or intrigue with their attempt of a spy within a spy within a spy or however many layers they were attempting here. Salt's motivations are terribly under explained. But choosing to dive into that now would ruin whatever fun you might want to get out of this action film. Just keep in mind, you're sitting down to watch Jolie in action sequences. Otherwise this spice just doesn't have much to offer.
FINAL SCORE: 5/10