Movie Reviews

Film Review: “Salt”

(Columbia Tri Star. 1 hour, 39 minutes. Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action. Directed by Philip Noyce.) Angelina Jolie (Evelyn Salt), Liev Schreiber (Theodore Winter), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Peabody), Daniel Olbrychski (Orlov), August Diehl (Michael Krause), Hunt Block (President Lewis), Andre Braugher (Sec. of Defense), Olek Krupa (Russian President Matveyev). Music by James Newton Howard.

Serviceable action-thriller, originally designed for Tom Cruise (until he decided, rightly, that Edwin Salt was too close to his Mission: Impossible Ethan Hunt character). So Edwin became Evelyn, Salt’s wife became a husband, and Angelina Jolie stepped into the role. As a woman, she’s a fine twist for those who now accept implausible action scenes usually performed by men (like leaping off a bridge onto a moving semi and that kind of stuff). Angie’s thinner here than her Lara Croft days, though, and that doesn’t help her believability as a kick-ass agent.

Ripped from today’s headlines: the plot has Salt a CIA agent suspected of being a Russian spy. It has more relevance with the recent real-life arrest of 10 Russian spies, including the redhead Anna Chapman (reportedly invited by Jolie to the Salt premiere, in vain). There’s plenty of talent here; however, the story or characters just aren’t as involving in the same way as the current political-thriller standard-bearers, the Jason Bourne films. Even director Noyce’s own 1990s Harrison Ford/Jack Ryan entries are still worth rewatching, even if South American drug cartels are out of fashion as enemies. Some at my Salt screening quibbled with the ending. I found James Newton Howard’s score all right, but he’s getting (I suspect deliberately) more Zimmer/commercial-sounding. Verdict: Salt is adequate but not destined for the ranks of great political-thriller movies.

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