Monday, August 02, 2010


Tonight I saw Salt, starring Angelina Jolie and Liev Schreiber.

Like a pinball that's just been thrust into play, Evelyn Salt (Jolie) begins oh so calmly, then darts from one thing to another with reckless abandon. She's an employee of the CIA who has unexpectedly been accused of spying for the Russians. Because you can never be too careful, the higher ups want to hold her for questioning, but Evelyn is terrified the Soviets who are framing her will go after her (innocent, non-CIA) husband, so she escapes her own high security office building and heads home to warn him. When she arrives, he's already gone so she must continue on the run until she locates him. Or fulfills her Russian mission. You decide.

Along the way, her colleague/friend Ted Winter (Schreiber) does his best to defend her honor, but he can only do so much. The fact that she ran doesn't look good to the authorities and she's too skilled to let the boys track her down for a simple interrogation.

Everything you'd expect from an action thriller is here: high speed chases through traffic, security guards getting pistol whipped by a badass, confusion regarding who is on who's side and good old-fashioned Russian hatred for America.

Now, before you ask what decade the film is set in (present day, if you must), might I remind you that just last week our country (in real life) deported a handful of Russian spies who had been working in respectable American companies, living family lives in the suburbs like so many normal patriots.

With that out of the way, I can say that much of the film is completely unbelievable. There is no man's ass Evelyn can't kick; no weapon she is unprepared to use; no otherwise fatal car crash that she can't walk away from without a scratch. It's ridiculous.

But it's also undoubtedly fun, in a classic, Cold War sort of way.

What I found refreshing is that before every strategic move is made, there's not someone scrambling a signal on a cell phone or cracking some mysterious code on a laptop. In fact, the only typing we really see is in reference to launching a missile, and that I can forgive.

Plus, though she's a sexy woman who purses her lips on more than one occasion, the writers didn't make Evelyn too girlie. You never see her check her makeup in a mirror or even use her sexuality to win anyone over. The only indication you get that she has capacity for normal female emotion is the tenderness we see when she's with her husband. She must really love him.

So if you can get past the cheesy lines and the 80s explosions and the same-old spy twists, you might just have a good time with this flick.


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