I’ve felt for a while now that Angelina Jolie is a lot like her life counterpart: both are extremely good looking, extremely wealthy, a little odd, and both are exceptional actors. While Jolie has churned out her fair share of heavy-hitting dramatic roles (winning an Oscar for Girl, Interrupted, being nominated for Changeling and criminally overlooked in A Mighty Heart) she always looks like she’s having the most fun in a down-and-dirty action flick.
The premise for Salt is as simple as movies get: super agent Evelyn Salt is mistaken for a Russian spy, secretly embedded within the CIA. Instead of presenting her case as a rational adult (what fun would that be?) she flees the authorities in a desperate attempt to clear her name.
Once the action starts full throttle, you can’t help but enjoy Jolie as she takes down bodyguard after bodyguard; climbing down high rises, jumping onto moving semis, creating a mini bomb with household cleaning products, and so on. Her intensity, action role or otherwise, has gained steadily over her career.
It helps that Jolie is backed by subtle heavy-hitters Liev Schreiber and Chiwetel Ejiofor, but Salt, as directed by veteran government-operative-action-flick guru Philip Noyce (Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger), gets bogged down by farfetched antics that even the most loyal action enthusiasts will roll their eyes at. Most of the movie is pleasantly enjoyable, but seriously, do we really believe that this agent-on-the-run could roam the White House grounds for hours on end, slowly making her way to the President?
Also, at the risk of giving too much away, I feel I must mention how much of a cop-out the ending felt like. If we’re going to get sequels, then there’s a way to still end your film rivetingly (i.e. the Bourne films). But here, it’s as if they couldn’t think of anything better. Either way, Jolie is having a good time, more so than her role in Noyce’s Bone Collector, so I suppose not all is lost. C+