Let me preface this review by saying that I recently fell on the last step of a non-moving Metro escalator. I sprained my thumb, badly bruised my knees and elbows and still have trouble walking. Fast-forward to Salt. In the first 20 minutes of the film, our heroine, Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie), jumps from moving truck to moving truck to moving truck, lands on cement several times and finally hops on a motorcycle and ends up with a mere gash on her abdomen (and has the smarts to use a sanitary napkin as a bandage–who knew?). No facial scars, black and blue marks, nothing. Evelyn Salt ROCKS!
Salt, directed by Phillip Noyce and written by Kurt Wimmer, is a fast-paced, completely unrealistic and an extremely fun-time at the movies. The story is not all that easy to follow and there are definite holes throughout, but Jolie is so terrific that none of this really matters. Salt is a U.S. spy working undercover for a front company for the CIA called RINK. Her possible real identity is compromised when a Russian spy turns himself in and during his debriefing by her makes a convincing argument that she is a double agent. And thus the action begins.
The stunts are fabulous and boy, does Jolie look great doing them. This is not a thinking person’s action movie, but Jolie does manage to show a range of emotions as well as kick butt…in other words, she’s actually acting in an action movie! Liev Schreiber and Chiwetel Ejiofor, as her CIA colleagues, turn in some surprisingly good action performances and Schreiber is especially effective.
Much has been made of how June’s suburban NY spies have made Salt’s Russian/US angle more believable. The recent Washington Post three-part series on top-secret government organizations and the companies that do work for them also adds credence to the movie’s beginning. But let’s not dwell on believability too much and instead just enjoy Salt for what it is…a stunt-filled, action-packed summer movie with a fabulous leading lady at the top of her physical game.
3 nuggets out of 4