Who is Salt?
That’s a mighty fine question to pose, movie poster. I’m still not entirely sure who Salt is, except that I know she just wants to be the “good guy.”
Thus, Hollywood has churned out yet another relatively shallow “blockbuster” star vehicle by the name of “Salt.”
The story, to the best of my ability to comprehend, is about a woman named Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie, as if you didn’t know) who’s accused of being a Russian sleeper agent in the U.S. She leads a normal life as a good ol’ American citizen working for the C.I.A. when a Russian man named Orlov (a man whose name I’m just too lazy to look up) is captured and interrogated. Upon this interrogation, he spills the beans that Salt is a Russian spy and that she’s going to kill the Russian President when he comes to visit America on behalf of the American Vice President’s death. Oh, and she has a husband who is really into spiders, whose existence in the film is almost completely useless save for one pivotal point about halfway through. That's just shoddy writing, and is about as close to a deus ex machina as you can get without literally being called a deus ex machina.
Anyway, as you can guess, she runs away and everyone in America is out to get her. Her bff Ted (Liev Schrieber) plays dumb throughout the entire chase and truly believes that Salt is innocent.
Of course, until she tries to assassinate the President of Russia. AT A CHURCH of all places. She really knows how to put the "fun" in "funeral."
But I digress, scenes like that are what make Salt a deliciously fun film. Campy at times, Salt is enthralling, and with a tagline like "Who is Salt?" you'd have to be a complete idiot not to realize that there's going to be at least one huge twist in the film. Then you discover that there's about 4. Then you come to terms with the fact that Salt goes from being really cool and slick to just ridiculous.
Why is it ridiculous? Just like the "SPOILER" in all caps reads, you may not want to read this paragraph. If you're still reading, you've been warned. The point where boy-next-door Ted decides to go Postal and SMG the bejesus out of EVERYONE in the President's war room is when I just felt violated and confused. The twist was interesting (if not foreseeable), but it went way too over the top. I'm a fan of over the top. In fact, my favorite action movie of all time is Grindhouse and it really doesn't get more over the top than that. But you're telling me than a man who's entrusted with sitting next to the President of the United States in a confined and highly isolated room while launching nuclear warheads at any country he so chooses can just waltz around and shoot every single person in there without so much as a scratch on his knee?
:END OF SPOILER
Anyway, Salt has its moments of boldness when it comes to how far it is willing to push you until you finally say "Okay, really?" That has nothing to do with how she defies physics as she seamlessly jumps from car to car on a busy highway... it's all in terms of story. A man whom the Central INTELLIGENCE Agency is believed to be a foreign terrorist cannot just walk into their headquarters armed with a knife, kill two of their finest employees, then just walk out never to be heard from again. That just doesn't happen.
Jolie does a fine job with the script she's given, and she should be commended. She still stands as one of our favorite Femme Fatales in the movie biz, and she's not losing that status any time soon. Then again, it's hard for anyone to remember a tried and true "good" movie she's been in that wasn't all hyped up just because she was the star. Salt is yet another cinematic endeavor that comes out during Summer, people will most likely love for a week, and then be forgotten in the disarray of past Summer action blockbusters we all dearly knew. That's pretty much all there is to it. Salt is great the day you see it, pretty good the following week, then it's easily replaced by another film of the exact same quality.
Salt is a gimmick. It's not necessarily bad by any means of the word, but it just won't transcend any standards or become the new "Die Hard" franchise we should be so ready for. It hardly does anything new, its main driving force is Jolie and the only reason anyone will "like" the film enough to refer it to friends is because it presents several twists that some of us will see coming a mile away and some of us will suspend our disbelief long enough to pretend we didn't see it coming a mile away. From an action standpoint, Salt was frenetic and fun in all the right places. From any other standpoint, Salt falls flat.