Salt (2010)

The Russian spies are among us! Even as I am writing this, there are hundreds of sleeper agents living among us who are patiently waiting…patiently waiting for their perfectly planned time of attack to strike against our country and way of life. At least that’s what the action-thriller Salt leads us to believe. Although it is simply a product for our entertainment, it cuts pretty close to reality which will probably have you leaving the theater looking over your shoulder.

The ever impressive Angelina Jolie stars as Evelyn Salt, a CIA agent who is accused of being a Russian spy by a Russian national defector named Orlov. His accusation of course raises more than a few eyebrows within her agency. A manhunt then ensues for her capture after she seemingly flees to protect her husband and attempt to clear her name.

Along the way she uses every bit of training in evading her pursuers that she has including hand to hand combat, scaling buildings, and even the creation of weapons out of common items that would make McGyver proud. Bits and pieces of her past and personal life are also revealed during her desperation to stay out of the governments’ custody.

The most significant aspect of this film that stood out to me was the realness of the stunts. Done without obvious green screen effects, repetitive cut-scenes and enhanced slow-motion, the action sequences actually have the audience feeling the bumps and bruises that Salt incurs during her miraculous escapes. With Jolie doing much of her own stunts, it only adds to the authenticity of her action exploits. Especially during a scene where she is shown jumping from truck to truck along a freeway in order to avoid capture.

The screenplay written by Kurt Wimmer has some hoops and hurdles for the audiences’ imagination to jump through which creates some possible implausible moments but keeps movie goers entrenched with the hopes of finding out the truth at the end. Liev Schreiber plays her CIA colleague Ted Winter, who believes she is innocent and is trying to convince agent Peabody (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a counter-intelligence officer who wants her apprehended, of the same. Their characters’ roles assists in splitting the audiences’ decision of whether Salt is innocent or not in two. One will plead a case that will having you thinking that there’s no way he can be wrong about her until the latter party explains his view and then you don’t know what to think. Your only choice by then is to sit, watch and enjoy.

Leaving the story a little open at the conclusion, director Phillip Noyce has toyed with the idea of making the story into a franchise with Jolie continuing to be the focal point of course. Switching to Jolie after Tom Cruise originally turned the lead role down, feeling it was too close to his Mission: Impossible character Ethan Hunt, it turned out to be a very good move. Jolie is turning out to be a natural for these kinds of action roles, by not only relying on the stunts to carry the film but still bringing her acting “A” game to the table.

This movie does a respectable job of keeping movie goers turning in different directions but is not the best one of its kind to grace the big screen. With some predictable parts, it still manages to deliver a well thought out climax. I give Salt “4 Well, is she a spy or not’s? out of 5”.

-“The name of the agent is Evelyn Salt”
-“My name is Evelyn Salt”
-“Then you are a Russian spy”

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