Sunday, August 22, 2010


Year: 2010
Director: Phillip Noyce
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Daniel Olbrychski

Other than being a Hollywood star, Angelina Jolie is known for many things, like being Brad Pitt's other half, her large brood of children, daughter to Jon Voight, and her global charity work. Finally now, she's going back to one of her great roles: the action heroine.

In Salt, Jolie plays Evelyn Salt, a CIA agent who gets a visit from a Russian defector at her office. The defector, Orlov claims that a Russian sleeper agent, one of many who have been planted in the U.S. since the 70s, is going to kill the President of Russia, who will be in New York the following day.

The clincher is, Orlov names Salt as that very sleeper agent!

Salt promptly proclaims her innocence to her superiors, who are seeking the truth behind her identity. When the defector escapes custody, Salt does the same, trying her best to evade capture, while attempting to save her husband, whom she fears has become a target. Hot on her tail is her boss, Winter (Schreiber) and agent from CIA headquarters Peabody (Ejiofor).

Phillip Noyce, who has given us thrillers like Clear And Present Danger and The Bone Collector, keeps the pace taut and fast here. The action keeps piling up one after another as we watch Jolie jump, run, ride, shoot and basically kick ass all the way. Which is fine of course, since Jolie does all this so well.

But the problem is the plot. Noyce just keeps moving from one action sequence to another without giving much explanation as to why things are happening. Salt works on her own for the most part, much to the audience's disadvantage, because she doesn't have anyone to confide in and thus no one to explain to on her motivations or her next step. So we are forced to watch one jaw dropping action scene after another, some of which make no sense, like how she can walk away from a car crash in broad daylight right in the city without anyone noticing.

However, to her credit, Jolie successfully carries the film mostly by herself. She is the star of the show, and I think had it been anyone else in the role, it would not have worked. I still feel the film deserves a bit more runtime, as some characters aren't fully explored, or they ought to get more attention but may have ended up on the editing room floor. And the supposed surprise in the climax isn't a shock at all, it's quite predictable.

It's a good action film, reminiscent of Knight And Day, except Salt takes itself more seriously and is better executed. Overall, a so-so effort. (3.5/5)

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