Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Salt: Grade D

Salt (2010)

Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, Chiwetel Ejiofor. Director Phillip Noyce.

Jolie is Evelyn Salt, a CIA spy and action-figure. A random Russian “defector” waltzes into CIA headquarters (as if he could!) and claims that Salt is actually a Russian mole. Naturally, everyone believes this guy, despite absence of any evidence, so Salt does the only sensible thing, break out of CIA headquarters (piece of cake) and go on the run. Schreiber and Ejiofor pursue her for the rest of the movie.

At least there are some good foot chases instead of just the stereotype highway chases involving black SUVs, although there are plenty of those, too. But then we see Salt with the Russian bad guys and she suddenly develops a Russian accent in her English! Oh, no, she really is Russian! But wait! Maybe not! She becomes a good guy again, but then a bad guy, and then, and then… The story is hopeless.

The stunts are weird also. Jolie (who is allegedly 35 but looks much older), jumps from the roof of one high speed highway semi to another (despite being shot in the abdomen) and leaps down an elevator shaft from wall to wall and so on. Of course. These and other crazy stunts are apparently intended realistically because they are not quite ridiculous enough to be ironic or comic. She is not spider-woman, just an ordinary person with amazing athletic ability? Not even Tom Cruise would be believable here.

Acting is noticeably poor all around, even by Schrieber and Ejiofor, who we know can act, so that has to be the fault of the writer and director. Music is loud and annoying, as you would expect. The Salt character is a decent premise, and will probably be back, hopefully in a more intelligent form.

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