Saturday, July 31, 2010

‘Salt’– Same tired flavor!

As an action star Angelina Jolie is worth her ‘Salt’, although I would argue her stint as Laura Croft was much better, but ‘Salt’ itself never quite lives up to the performance that Jolie is able to give to the film.

‘Salt’ is a completely absurd stab at resurrecting the cold war tension that all but has disappeared in today’s Jihadist terrorism world. Over plotted with enough red herrings to fill a corner fish market, this incoherent mess is revealed in the opening minutes and all suspense is written before Salt even is. Kurt Wimmer who wrote the equally awful ‘Street Kings’ and ‘Law Abiding Citizen’ reveals his cards from the opening scenes. Where did this guy go to writing school anyway?

A defecting Russian spy (Daniel Olbrychski) walks into a secret CIA cover company and informs the agents there that the Soviet Union has been planting spies in America for over a half of a century – including Lee Harvey Oswald – to try and tear apart the fabric of American society. The goal of all of these ‘moles’ within America – is to bring about a nuclear war between Russia and America. The Russian defector identifies Agent Evelyn Salt (Jolie), who happens to be an expert on Russian affairs, as the Russian spy, and tells the CIA that she has been assigned to assassinate the visiting Russian President to get the whole evil plan rolling.
Get it? Ok – logic would say that this plan would have gone out the door when the planners would say – ‘Hey! Nuclear war! Won’t that send us all into the stone-age?’ ‘Hey! The cold war is over Ivan! Wasn’t the Soviet Union disbanded, like 20 years ago?’ AND – let’s toss out the logic of outing Salt as the traitor (IF she is REALLY the traitor) as identifying her would make it a thousand times more difficult because now the President would be that much more secure – if not locked down – but of course he isn’t and of course she is able to get through. Now Salt is on the run, chased by another CIA agent (Live Schreiber) and an FBI agent (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and a gaggle of other agents who seem to make the entire US law enforcement service look incompetent.

Salt leaps from truck to truck across a busy freeway – evades FBI, CIA and Secret Service Agents – cuts through an small army of highly skilled and trained Russian spies – all without a major injury! Truly incredible! ‘Salt’ barley survives as a summer popcorn movie (far better to spend your hard earned money on ‘Knight and Day’) and while there are some good action sequences, rather than leaving you with that ‘whoa’ feeling; you are left with that ‘yea right’ feeling instead. A disappointing way to try and enjoy a film; which is too bad as Jolie is a great action star and while she does rise above the terrible script and directing, she is simply not enough to carry the film.

Save this bland 2 star effort for a $1,00 Redbox rental – which I am sure it will be in a few weeks!

Speaking of Redbox, ‘A Single Man’ starring the astounding Colin Firth (Mama Mia!) is available at a corner near you. Set in the early 1960’s the story follows the days following the loss of George’s (Colin Firth) life partner, as he tries to cope with the loss. Nominated for 23 Oscars, this is truly a stunning film that deserves repeated viewings. Colin Firth is simply amazing and were it not for Jeff Bridges, his performance should have won the Best Actor statue. Run out and grab this 4 star effort tonight!

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