Jan 24, 2011

Salt Review

image from Amazon

Premise:
Veruca Salt... no wait, wrong movie. Evelyn Salt is accused of being a sleeper-double-agent in America's CIA, secretly working for the Russians since the cold war. So she's on the run! Maybe to prove her innocence. Maybe to take down America. Comrade.


Standouts:
The action scenes in this film feel very choppy, and I'm not sure if the blame is to be put on the choreographer or Angelina Jolie. In the first half of the film I remember thinking the fight/chase scenes were all massively overdone to the point of unbelievability. I actually laughed at some of the action scenes which were supposed to be taken completely seriously. But I may have been overcritical. Admittedly, there was a point where I watched Angelina Jolie out-running federal agents and shouted "YOU'RE RUNNING LIKE A GIRL!" And I feel bad about that, because Jolie had just gotten back in shape for this film after giving birth. The second half of the movie features much more acceptable looking action, both from an acting standpoint and from a directing standpoint.

I should also mention the three different versions of the film you can watch on the Deluxe Edition Blu-Ray or DVD. I watched the Deluxe Edition DVD, which I think is actually the default standard version you'll find since it's the version Netflix sent me without me specifically asking for. A lot of movies offer alternative endings, or a director's cut, but this film offers Theatrical Version, Director's Cut, and Extended Cut. Maybe because this film is so full of twists, but I watched the extended version in it's entirety, then watched the last 30 minutes of the theatrical version and director's cut, since Wikipedia notes their different endings. I will say about these versions that the theatrical version was the lamest, the Director's Cut was good but still followed the same stupid path the theatrical version's ending set-up, only with a very interesting last note to end the film on, and the extended version was pretty good overall. In none of the versions however was the answer to the biggest plothole I found though, that being when Salt decides her course of action. That's as specific as I can make that comment without giving anything away.


My Highlights:
An amazing moment you don't see coming, and an amazing visual - the handcuffs-kill. Trumps any other moment I could possibly think of in this film.


Overall Rating:
I watch a lot of brainless popcorn-action flicks, but I think a lot of the thinker-action films are been few and far between as of late. Occasionally there's a good thinker-action film that doesn't have a comic book origin, but this is a pretty decent one. Above all else, it seems like a great tribute to the actual cold war mentality I hear about with the paranoia about Russian sleeper agents. It may be a dated concept, but I thought it worked. So I give this film 4 *'s out of 5, or 8 *'s out of 10, and will forever remember it more for the actual Russian spies that were caught in America around this film's release date more than anything in the film itself.


When You Should See It:
I say put it on your rental queue, especially if you like films with femme fatales. Probably other movies that should take priority over this one though.

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