Reel Shorts | Salt

23 07 2010

This review first appeared in Jet Magazine.com. To read this review at its original source, click here.

Jolie Shines Despite Script’s Imperfections!
The year of the female action hero continues with Angelina Jolie forcefully announcing her presence in Hollywood’s boys club in the political action thriller “Salt.” While Jolie’s performance is on par with her male counterparts, the film is sabotaged by a confusing script that fails to give the audience a protagonist to rally around.

For several years, there has been a slight but fundamental change in how Hollywood makes action films. Instead of the cartoonish depictions of the 1980s and ’90s, today’s action stars are more physical and gritty. Working from the same blueprint as franchises such as the Bourne and Bond films, director Phillip Noyce introduces audiences to sexy, female CIA agent and super-spy Evelyn Salt (Jolie). Two years removed from capture and brutal torture at the hands of the North Koreans, she is released and hailed as a patriot and hero. Soon the secret agent lady marries and returns to her post at the CIA along with her mentor and partner Ted Winter (Liev Schreiber), contented to be the best spy and wife possible.

On the way to celebrate her wedding anniversary, she and Winter are summoned to interrogate a senior Russian defector, Orlov (Daniel Olbrychski), who has information with serious national security implications. Joined by aggressive FBI agent Peabody (Chiwetel Ejiofor), the group observes what should be a routine interrogation. But Salt’s world is shattered when Orlov drops a bombshell: he fingers the beautiful agent as a Russian spy!

The chain of events now find Salt on the run to clear her name and locate her missing husband, with Peabody and Winter in hot pursuit trying to anticipate the super-spy’s next moves. In the tradition of characters like Jason Bourne, James Bond and even Bruce Willis’ John McClane, Salt uses any- and everything at her disposal to keep her pursuers at bay. Along with her special black bag containing money, disguises, guns and other necessary spy accessories, Salt must use her intelligence, guile and physical ability to abort the assassination of the Russian president while outsmarting her inter-agency adversary, the persistent Peabody.

Originally written as a vehicle for Tom Cruise, who passed on the film because he thought the story was too similar to his “Mission Impossible” character, his loss is certainly Jolie’s gain. Performing many of her own stunts and throwing herself into many of the role’s physically demanding scenes, Jolie is magnificent and very authentic as the action star. She has had plenty of practice in films such as “Wanted,” “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” and “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” and looks even more impressive despite her slight size.

Noyce uses many of the tricks from some of his former films — “Patriot Games,” “Clear and Present Danger” and even “The Saint” — to give “Salt” a heavy political tone that feels like the story could be ripped from today’s headlines. The problem is an ambiguous script by Kurt Wimmer, which has a protagonist with questionable political motives and a murky backstory that makes it hard for the audience to decide in whom they should place their loyalty.

Ejiofor (“Inside Man”) once again plays a well-intentioned but overmatched character that always seems one step behind the hero. Giving it his all, he is solid but deserves the chance to shine in the lead instead of perpetually providing support. Both he and Schreiber are serviceable secondary performers but this is Jolie’s action showcase. Possessing necessary big-screen bravado and swagger, Jolie fits in well with Lisabeth Salander (“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”) and “Kick-Ass'” Hit Girl.

Grade: C+

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One response

28 07 2010
vishwa

check out the storyline and infolinnks…………..

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