Movie Review: Salt, Fun and Absurd

This is a guest post by Gunter Jameson.

The opening scene of Salt gives us a glimpse of Angelina Jolie stripped down to her frilly under things being tortured by angry-faced Asian men in communist-style military garb. And that image basically sets the tone for the rest of the movie—increasingly far-fetched and stereotypical action movie tropes play themselves out around the image of a beautiful woman.

But this is not to say that Salt is all bad. Sure, it plays on stereotypes and well-worn action movie set pieces, but the action is pretty fun to watch, and after a while you stop caring about the political motivations of Salt the CIA or cold-war era Russian spies, and you just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Jolie gives an apt performance, but there is little for her to work with in the script, so she uses most of her acting talent to look sexy while jumping through the air, punching, shoots guns, and generally blowing stuff up—not unlike her role in the Tomb Raider movies. Other actors, who have been spectacular in other movies, Liev Shreiber and Chitwel Ejiofor, turn in average performances as well, which mostly consist of yelling at each other and barking orders, roles that—with lesser actors—would have made the movie seem all that more ridiculous.

But this movie is not about nuanced acting or superb writing, it’s about car chases and big expositions, and this is where the movie really shines. For all intents and purposes, Salt is one big chase scene, but without the shaky-cam madness of a number of recent actions films that are also trying to play off the Bourne franchise to lesser effect. Instead, the audience is never so lost in the action that they don’t know what is going on. The framing and editing of the action is clear and clean, letting the audience follow Salt though every jump from a semi, police car crash, and explosion without getting sick or losing their grounding in reality.

Audiences may find it odd that the Cold War is suddenly alive and well in a 21st century setting, but by the time they unravel the shifting story line and see the conspiracy at it’s core they have already invested too much in the action set pieces to care much about the story itself. And even if Salt borrows a lot of material from the Bourne and Mission: Impossible movies, it’s still a fun ride that will get your blood pumping—even as you realize that the action is completely absurd.

Gunter Jameson writes about several topics including travel, minimalism and online schools.


free movies online said...

I purposely waited 2 days to write my thoughts on the new film Salt, wanting to do my best to accurately gauge my feelings about another ‘summer movie’ of which I clearly tend to dislike. I’m glad I did wait because I was generally laughing when I left the theater, but I now realize that it has the feeling of a film that is on the verge of being better than it is, yet it holds up well enough to be exactly what it is striving to be, and if you understand what I am saying then you’ll understand what I am getting at… or something.

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