A Pinch of ‘Salt’ Leads to Some Wild Action

After months of ad campaigns asking film-goers, “Who is Salt?,” only to be met mostly with a response sounding like, “who cares?,” it’s safe to say that the actual film does answer that question, and also manages to be a pretty effective action thriller.  However, it does go into some hardcore ridiculous territory, but I appreciated Jolie’s work as a super spy, along with the very high stakes this movie presents.  The solid, over-the-top action matches and sometimes diminishes the ridiculous story.

Orlov: The name of the agent is Evelyn Salt.
Evelyn Salt: My name is Evelyn Salt.
Orlov: Then you are a Russian spy.

So Angelina Jolie does in fact star as Salt, an agent for the CIA.  Her loyalties are called into question one day, as a supposed Russian defector comes into the office to give up information, which includes accusing Salt of being a Russian spy.  Her superiors, quick to look past her years of loyalty, decide to attempt detaining her, but Salt manages to escape and go on the run, hoping to clear her name, keep her husband safe and possibly stop the assassination of some very important people.  Due to her training, Salt has all the means to be effective in any situation, so hopefully she can manage to prove herself to be the patriot she is…or is she?

Much of the film’s story works on twisting around our perception of what is true and what is not.  While this may not lead to deep thoughts about character motivation or leave us with the feeling that this screenplay is very unique, it relies on a premise that supplies enough mystery as far as ridiculous action movies go.  Basing a movie tag line around the question of who a character is can certainly seem gimmicky, and this movie doesn’t do itself any favors by going so far over the top, but Jolie’s performance is solid enough to make it work nonetheless.

Director Philip Noyce, who has previously headed up a couple Tom Clancy movies as well as the awesome thriller Dead Calm, and writer Kurt Wimmer have put together a tightly constructed action film that takes the approach of being a movie that you can either ride all the way through and arrive at your destination satisfied or hit a bunch of pit stops on the way, while noticing some big holes in its story.  This film manages to keep you engaged, but it’s better if you don’t think too hard about the world these characters exist in.

Jolie does well in her role as Agent Evelyn Salt.  She maintains a sense of mystery to her, which I already mentioned, but also continues to prove that she is quite the action heroine, when it is required of her.  Involving herself in a good portion of the stunts (wire-work not withstanding), it’s nice to see her not only look sexy, but also see her letting herself get beat up quite a bit.  This movie also apparently wanted to impress me by casting a number of people I like in supporting roles.  Liev Schreiber co-stars as Salt’s superior, hoping that she is in fact innocent.  Chiwetel Ejiofor is given a nothing role as the agent who must doubt everything.  And for some reason Andre Braugher turns up here, with only one line of dialogue.

Of course, the action is a main concern for being able to enjoy this film, and it is certainly handled appropriately and aplenty.  After starting off a bit slow by delivering as much exposition as possible, this film does ramp up and turn into a pretty consistent chase film.  A number of well handled action set pieces, and solid pacing, accompanied by a noticeably good score by James Newton Howard all benefit the film.  Its touch and go with what beliefs we are willing to suspend, but I found it to be good enough to a point.

Towards the end, as more and more plot reveals were made, I was certainly willing to appreciate the overall goals that the villains were trying to achieve from a James Bond sort of perspective.  It’s an element that I haven’t seen in a while, which pleased me.

Overall, this film certainly doesn’t help itself by being so serious about a plot so silly, but there are ample amounts of action and enough confidence in the Jolie performance that I was entertained enough by the film.

Evelyn Salt: I’m innocent. Someone is setting me up!

Salt: 3 out of 5 Stars



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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

2 Responses to “A Pinch of ‘Salt’ Leads to Some Wild Action”

  1. Gregg

    After I gave it some more thought, I really didn’t care too much for this film. It had some really great action sequences but the story was so out of reach that I just couldn’t buy it. It sets this precedent that it’s possible, but much of the story is so ultra fantastical that I couldn’t swallow it. Jolie was great in her role, but I won’t be revisiting this one.

  2. Brian White

    While I can agree there are several big ridiculous plot holes, I loved the aggressive, violent and over the top action sequences in this film. They were intense and heart pounding, coupled with the in your face soundtrack. I loved it, and that alone will keep me coming back for more when Salt is released on Blu-ray.