CIA super-spy, Evelyn Salt (Jolie) is denounced as a Russian ‘sleeper’ agent by a defector, leaving her no choice but to go on the run, prove her innocence and prevent the real mole from destroying the good old US of A.
It’s expensive, glossy, twisty and loud and I can sum up Salt in one word. Predictable.
It took me all of five minutes not only to work out the plot of the entire movie but map out most of the set-pieces and reveals along the way. That’s not a good reaction for an espionage thriller.
While director Philip Noyce effectively marshalls the bangs and crashes, Jolie alternately scowls and wells up, as Liev Schrieber gives us his usual shifty one note performance and Chewetel Ejiofor acts everyone else off screen. Clearly he thought he was in a proper movie. It’s a spy thriller, then a chase movie, then Day of the Jackal, then MI-meets-XXX, with a pinch of (not Salt) Manchurian Candidate (Liev Schrieber again). Everything is plotted in service to Jolie’s tough CIA terminator; punching, kicking, motor-biking and shooting anything in reach. A mistress of disguise (in which she’s a dead ringer for that Anjelina Jolie bird) she even changes sex to walk into the White House as a short, camp man. Somebody clearly gets irony given Tom Cruise walked away from this one as being too similar to his MI franchise and they re-wrote it for Jolie.
It’s an efficient vehicle, well crafted, but I think the writers watched too many John Woo movies. There’s every twist and cliche from Face-Off, through all the Mission Impossibles, plus Sum of All Fears and various espinage knock-offs featuring Wesley Snipes (Art of War), Segal and Vin Diesel (XXX and the sequel without him in it) to which the only answer is ratchet up the threat, invade the White House (yawn) again, start World War Three and kill the President.
At least it’s better than Night & Day. Standard pop-corn fare, but no more. RC
Running Time: 1 hr. 31 min.
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Action & Adventure
Director: Phillip Noyce
Writers: Kurt Wimmer, Brian Helgeland
Released: Aug 20, 2010 Wide
Distributor: Sony Pictures
Production year: 2010
Cast: Andre Braugher, Angelina Jolie, August Diehl, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Liev Schreiber