Movie Review: SALT (2010)
Spy fascinations go much further when the spy looks like Angelina Jolie, as is the case in SALT, starring Jolie as Evelyn Salt, a CIA officer whose loyalty is put to the ultimate test when a defector accuses her of being a Russian spy. When her own government sets out to get her, she finds herself on the run and under fire.
Jolie, who seems especially invested in her character, puts on an outrageous and cutting performance in comparison to the many wanting ones we get from everyone else in the film, who seem to showcase a rather noticeable lack of character development and shallow writing.
The continual flashbacks of Salt to her past only hint at dramas and internal conflicts from earlier times, but things remain void of meaty plot-twists and a much-needed emotional spark that never comes. Without that spark, Jolie comes off more like the Terminator than a female version of Jack Bauer.
While SALT is set back by a few significant script-based problems, those faults don't totally beat out the freeing, fun, and full-of-excitement summer shoot-out that SALT proves to be. It is only halfway in when the plot begins to stretch the limits of believability, with Salt easily taking out scores of well-trained and well-armored police officers and FBI agents with the butts of guns, half-empty vodka bottles, and her bare hands.
The juicy action and vivid sound effects make this a sizzling film that (for some) will not fail to entertain. Amidst talk of presidential assassinations and the covert activities of hostile Russian splinter cells, the viewer quickly begins to wonder whether fugitive Salt has something to hide after all.
The preposterously unlikely plot – which focuses on the plans of a well-organized separatist group to reconstruct cold war Russia and lie dormant waiting for an attack – does more than dance on the bed of unbelievability; it makes the premise of the whole movie hard to swallow on the merits, but is thankfully accompanied with just enough action to cross genres in appeal.
While the film's gorgeous star makes the viewing memorable, it is unlikely either Jolie or her co-star, Liev Schreiber, will be able to make this work to bring a sequel.
Grade: C+ (2 ½ stars)
Rated: R (for intense sequences of violence and action)
Director: Phillip Noyce
Summary: As a CIA officer, Evelyn Salt swore an oath to duty, honor, and country. Her loyalty will be tested when a defector accuses her of being a Russian spy.
Starring: Angelina Jolie "Evelyn Salt," Liev Schreiber "Ted Winter," Chiwetel Ejiofor "Peabody," Daniel Olbrychski "Orlov," August Diehl "Mike Krause," Daniel Pearce "Young Orlov," Hunt Block "U.S. President Lewis"
Genre: Action / Thriller