Salt

2010-10-15 10:40
 
Salt

What it's about:

Evelyn Salt, an intelligence agent with the CIA, is named by an ex-Soviet spy-boss as a Russian sleeper agent. Fearing for her safety, the agent goes on the run. But all is not what it seems, as a major plot to assassinate both the Russian premier and the US president unravels.

What we thought:

An early freeway chase scene in Salt is expertly staged and filmed, and could well be a candidate for next year's stunt co-ordinator awards. It is the moment that really says everything you need to know about the movie as whole.

Director Philip Noyce has a talent for action flicks with a touch of political intrigue to them – The Jack Ryan movies with Harrison Ford are testament to this. Noyce has a knack for making a suspenseful action film move along at just the right clip, and never jolting the audience into hectic changes of pace or plotting.

In a certain regard, Salt is a little more ambitious than Jack Ryan's adventures in terms of storyline. It doesn't – can't, really – appeal to a sense of "it could happen" like, say, Clear and Present Danger did. Covert ops in South America? Totally believable. Sleeper agents whacking the US prez? Wo'eva!

Instead, Salt is like the bus from Speed... once it leaves the stop, it never drops below 55. And despite the fact that you'll need a healthy dose of 'Brain Missing' to get into the movie, you'll find yourself nodding along amicably through most of it once you get on.

Salt is also similar to the Jack Ryan movies in that it amps up the 'thrill' factor – in fact, about 92% of the movie is a chase. And it works despite the fact that the film uses surprisingly few of the tricks that modern movies so easily resort to.

There's a distinct lack of obvious CGI in the action set pieces, and that positions the film as a hat-tip to a bygone era of great spy movies from the 80s. The chasing, fighting and crashing feels just that touch more 'real world' than we've become used to lately – well, save for one scenario, but that would be spoiling.

Ironic, then, that the storyline itself is off the planet; it starts out fantastic, with a former big deal in Soviet Intelligence 'walking in off the street' and just keeps heading out of orbit from there. There are too many imaginative plot points to name from that point, but particularly notable is the fear of a crack assassin potentially infiltrating a super-security bunker below the White House. Seriously?

So the story requires that a large portion of your logic be switched off. No worries, it's easily Jolie's best film of the last few years (Wanted? Blegh!), which makes it decent, enjoyable, and perfect for a sequel or two. Mission accomplished. 

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It's a fairly improbable movie in terms of premise, but then again, that's what makes all great spy movies so much fun.

Disappointed 2010/09/07 9:14 AM
The movie just proves that Angelina is an incredible poor actress who relies purly on her looks to achieve any success.
I A lexander 2010/09/07 9:35 AM
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great spy movies Angelina Jolie she is the best
Me 2010/09/07 9:38 AM
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Loved it, Angelina or not.
Rothchild 2010/09/07 1:38 PM
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Worst movie of the year so far.
Rothchild 2010/09/07 1:39 PM
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Worst movie of the year so far.
gerald 2010/09/07 3:07 PM
Looking forward to seeing a movie that doesn't rely on CGI for all its effects. Computer graphics are wonderful for an Avatar, but get boringly ridiculous when they are constantly used in so-called 'live action'. Just love old movies like 'Bullitt' where the actor, Steve McQueen actually does his own car-chase driving. It's real, not fake, with a genuine 'wow' factor.
PRESHEN GOVENDER 2010/09/07 4:15 PM
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the only bad thing was that there was no nude scene
rocky 2010/09/22 2:32 PM
the story as a whole was completely far-fetched and for any serious movie lover that would be enough to turn them off. Yes indeed the live action was above average-better than the norm being blantanly dished out nowadays. The problem is that the movie is a typical 90s action spy thriller which would have been suitable for that era. these days audiences are starved for originality and truthful stories that even if they are based in fantasy can at least be relateable. salt was unsatisfying; the type of movie you watch on a sunday afternoon after a blunt.
rocky 2010/09/22 2:32 PM
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the story as a whole was completely far-fetched and for any serious movie lover that would be enough to turn them off. Yes indeed the live action was above average-better than the norm being blantanly dished out nowadays. The problem is that the movie is a typical 90s action spy thriller which would have been suitable for that era. these days audiences are starved for originality and truthful stories that even if they are based in fantasy can at least be relateable. salt was unsatisfying; the type of movie you watch on a sunday afternoon after a blunt.
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