Salt (2010)

Directed by Phillip Noyce
Written by Kurt Wimmer

Angelina Jolie is a bona fide action star, or at least her credits and reputation have crowned her as such. In the last 10 years, she as appeared in numerous action films that have given her a reputation as a Hollywood bad ass. Intermingled with these action films, she has also seen her reputation as a dramatic actress increase, with a handful of award nominations. But at heart, she is still an action starlet who knows how to kick some ass. I have heard from many people that this is like the female version of Jason Bourne. They are right in so many ways, but at the same time, they are also wrong in so many ways.

Evelyn Salt (Jolie) is a CIA operative who works on important undercover, national security cases. She is happily married and on her way home to celebrate her anniversary with her German husband when a Russian defect named Orlov walks into her office offering up information. The information, however, is not what anyone expected. Orlov states that a Russian spy named Evelyn Salt will assassinate the Russian president at a funeral in New York the following day. This complicates matters to say the least. The audience is then led on an adventurous ride to find out the truth. Is she a spy? And if not, why is she running?

This is one fast paced thriller of a movie. The first hour runs by so quickly you will be left catching your breath. The final act slows the pace down a little bit, but this is one heck of a ride. What makes it such a fun film is trying to figure it out. The movie makes no attempt to keep the audience in suspense with what is happening on screen, but instead chooses to play a mind game and let the action do all the talking. Who is Salt truly is the question of the whole film.

There are some instances of suspended disbelief in the film, but as an action film, I am willing to forgive it its cheesiness at times, though I will say that this film succeeded much much more when plot was left out of it. I wasn’t so much concerned with the start of World War III and the assassination of any presidents, which is done somewhat unceremoniously in fact. Instead I was more interested in seeing Jolie kick some ass, whether I knew why she was doing it or not. That is where the film was a success, but as any film seemingly must do, it comes back to plot to try and find a resolution to the story. Because of this, I find the Bourne series to be better films, though the action is similar, just not with the same amount of stakes involved.

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