Angelina Jolie is generally considered one of, if not the only, female star who can carry an action film in the lead role. She is smart, sexy and almost always bankable, so I was quite surprised to come to the realization that despite her constant presence in the press she has not been in a film since 2008. Her new film, Salt, is a film that was originally intended to be a Tom Cruise vehicle but as much as I like Cruise, after having seen Salt, no one other than Jolie could have pulled this film off.
Salt is an action packed thriller from director Phillip Noyce (Patriot Games) and centers around the character of Evelyn Salt, played by Jolie. The film starts with Salt in a North Korean prison, through a political prison transfer she is released and returned home where she settles down with her scientist boyfriend and begins to push paper. It doesn’t take long for things to get interesting though when a Russian agent enters the undercover base of operations and reveals that a deep cover Russian agent named Evelyn Salt is going to kill the Russian president in New York city.
After Salt’s allegiance comes into question the film applies the gas and for the next hour and a half it never lets up. The film is a lesson in pacing, if Noyce were to have let up the gas even just a bit, the film would fall apart under the weight of its own ridiculousness. The plot is mind bogglingly vacuous but because there is hardly time to even breathe before Salt performs her next amazing feat it never interferes with the action. Car chases, elaborate break ins, shoot outs, its all here in Salt and its all deliciously fun.
Once the film begins to wrap up though the wheels begin to come off and the plot lays itself out unexposed and that is its worst fault. There is too much time, too much exposition laid out between the thrilling end and the actual ending. During that time most viewers will begin questioning events and motives that have occurred throughout the film but worst of all they will question the ending because it makes no sense whatsoever except to attempt one last moment of awe.
Salt believes itself to be a smart action thriller. Its not, but if one can get past that, accepting it for the mind numbing brain candy it is, there is a lot to like here. Jolie is brutal and sexy, the action is intense and thrilling, and Salt is a fun summer film that works as the perfect antithesis to the mind bending Inception.
4 out of 5.