Salt

Bourne with Boobs

         
 

23 July 2010| No Comments     by Sean Chavel

 

Bourne with boobs. That very non-human, efficient and beautiful machine-quality makes Angelina Jolie the perfect actress to star as Salt, an action programmer that sprinkles a dash of espionage ingredients before it goes into non-stop chase mode. Overall this works as a superficially enjoyable action yarn. When I say programmer, it means that it is an automated recycled female version of “The Bourne Identity,” going for all the fast pans and think-fast ingredients, not to mention handiness at making a rocket launcher out of a swivel chair and a fire extinguisher.

Matt Damon, as Jason Bourne, was also good at creating cocktail weaponry. But Evelyn Salt (Jolie, as limber as she was in “Wanted”) nevertheless can’t run in heels like Bourne, and in the early scenes, has to run in barefoot which she does well. Salt is depicted as an invincible heroine that can withstand endless whacks and falls, but it is Jolie who must be by now no stranger to painful foot blisters.

Before all the chasing begins, Salt is established as a CIA agent. She is assigned to interview a Russian defector named Orlov (Daniel Olbrychski), who has a tall tale: Since the Cold War and the Russian-blooded makeover of Lee Harvey Oswald, a secret agency has been programming an army of assassins. Salt was born to American parents but raised in Moscow, and those golden blonde braids of hers screams Russian descent (!), so when Orlov announces to Salt that she is one of them then the CIA panics and demands immediate apprehension. It is never explained why Salt is afraid of the interview by her superiors, so a few Jason Bourne moves later, actively dispatching guards, she is on a nonstop run, and additionally, the hysterical camera rattling by the film’s director Philip Noyce (“Clear and Present Danger”) never subsides.

Chase after chase, Salt goes for astonishing leaps often across traffic and from the hoods of various tanker trucks, and at one point, aerobically jumps down one lower wall to the next in an elevator shaft without fail. Most of the dialogue occurs from her pursuers Agent Peabody (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Agent Winter (Liev Schreiber), two character actors known for wary elusiveness. But for the most part this is an action film short on motivated characters. The movie circumnavigates over assassination plots of both the Russian president and the President of the United States, and injuring but falling short of mortally rubbing out one of the targets is one of the film’s preposterous gambits.

In the heat of all this plot contraption we are supposed to be guessing which side Salt really is on, the American or Russian side. A surprising death takes place of someone who is close to Salt at one point, and the very cold spy-machine face of Jolie adds to the ambiguity, or at least wants to add to the ambiguity. Salt only appears fleetingly as if she is thinking of herself and nothing but. The film gives her character an agenda, and her choices will impact on whether or not there will be a nuclear Holocaust, one that not only entwines the United States and Russia, but other parts of the world as well. Salt is not a superspy, despite all the action chicanery, but at the end the fate of the world rests on her shoulders.

Somebody at the end of the movie though should announce to Salt that with all her physical perfection she is ready for superspy stature. The CIA conspiracy stuff is not as beholding as anything with Jason Bourne, and the film lacks the romantic grandeur of a James Bond adventure. But it moves fast and sleek, and Jolie’s body is mechanically flawless.

100 Minutes. Rated PG-13.

ACTION & ADVENTURE / ASS-KICKING BABE LOVERS / HOT SUMMER MOVIE

Film Cousins: “Foxy Brown” (1974); “La Femme Nikita” (1991, France); “The Bourne Identity” (2002); “Kill Bill Vol. 1″ (2003); “Wanted” (2008).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.

 

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