Review: Salt

Angelina Jolie does her best James Bond impression to bring us a serviceable spy thriller that brings the action with a few twists and turns along the way.

My expectations were a little low for Salt and I was pleasantly surprised to find a fun summer movie that kept me engaged, impressed me with some of the fight scenes and left me, not necessarily wanting a sequel but interested to see the next chapter for Evelyn Salt.

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THE SETUP:
Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie) is a CIA operative who has been fingered by a mysterious Russian defector as a Russian sleeper agent. The chase begins as her co-workers and government agents hunt her down while she tries to clear her name, uncover the conspiracy to kill high-ranking officials, escape Russian spies and keep her husband safe from those trying to kill her. Salt’s a busy girl.

THE THOUGHTS:
I promised when I first started this blog that I would be spoiler-free. That is going to make writing this review very difficult as most of the movie involves a “did she or didn’t she” premise.  I’ll do what I can.

The key players (Angelina Jolie, Live Schreiber and Chiwetel Ejiofor,) all bring something to the table.  Jolie has always been good at throwing herself into action scenes, even doing a lot of the stunts herself, and this is no different. We also feel her desperation in finding her husband and the reaction as she slowly reveals more of the Russian conspiracy and her role in it. One thing Angelina – You could make a drinking game out of her “looking one way, closing her eyes, she’s looking another way.” I swear she did it 5 times here. Schreiber brings some credibility to his role while Ejiofor is a great addition to any movie.

The story is action-packed and, with enough plot twists to keep the plot moving, a fun experience. This director has done some great work (Clear and Present Danger, Dead Calm) and some not so great work (The Saint, Sliver) but his background proves the man can direct action even if the script doesn’t match up. Thankfully, Salt falls a little closer to his better movies.

For a movie so based on action, there’s one thing I had a huge problem with. In two scenes, it’s far too over-the-top cartoony and really takes away from the great moments through out the film. I’m sorry, Jolie is pretty kickass but even she can’t do that. (damn, it’s hard not to give away anything)

SALT Rating:
3 stars – good movie, take a friend. Salt walks a fine line between solid rental and OK theatre flick. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed either way but I’d probably suggest the rental. It’s got the action and story to keep you pretty entertained.

Random Recommendations
The Thomas Crown Affair (1999) – I usually like to suggest the original over the remake but in this case, I have no problem making an exception. Pierce Brosnan isn’t James Bond here but he’s got all the smooth charm to make Thomas Crown awesome to watch. Rene Russo turns the sexy up while Dennis Leary brings the funny. Great caper movie.

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Girl, Interrupted (1999) – I try never to recommend anything with Winona Ryder in it but thankfully doesn’t do any damage in this movie that brought Jolie her one and only Academy Award. Director James Mangold breathes life into Susanna Kaysen’s book on her stay in a mental institution with great performances from Whoopi Goldberg, Brittany Murphy, Jared Leto and Vanessa Redgrave. Yes, even with Winona. Title implies chick-flick but it’s just not.

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 Review: Salt
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