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Overall Rating

Awesome: 5.26%
Worth A Look55.26%
Average: 13.16%
Pretty Bad: 23.68%
Total Crap: 2.63%

4 reviews, 14 user ratings

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Salt (2010)
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Noyce and Jolie outdo 007."
4 stars

Competence is underrated. Last weekís "Inception" is a wild and visionary thriller, but Christopher Nolan isnít really an action director; there are too many fight scenes in which we canít tell whoís where or whatís going on. "Salt" is a whole other ballgame.

It marks a return to form for the great action director Phillip Noyce; thank the cinema gods for someone who knows where to put the camera and how not to let his editors turn everything into unwatchable gibberish. Noyce made the two best Tom Clancy thrillers, Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger, and thereís no nonsense in his style, not an ounce of flab.

The same could be said of Angelina Jolie. She plays Evelyn Salt, a CIA operative accused of being a sleeper agent for the KGB, as if Salt had already seen the movie and were one step ahead of everyone. Thereís a car-chase sequence wherein Salt hops from the top of one moving vehicle to another; she seems to know exactly when a hoppable truck is coming up, or maybe sheís just always alert to any advantage. Jolie reportedly did a lot of her own stunts, and the action has a blunt physicality you simply canít get by leaning too much on CGI or wirework. The success of this movie and Inception is heartening; it may mean that audiences are tired of watching supposed human beings bend physics too far past credibility.

Itís a good thing Noyce and Jolie are dedicated to old-school clarity, because the plot of Salt is the usual convoluted spy stuff. Salt goes on the run to clear her name and also to foil a Russian plot to kill Russiaís president. Salt was in the can long before the recent news about Russian spies hit the headlines, but Russians had made a recent comeback as Hollywoodís bad guys even before this ó post-9/11, thrillers need villains who arenít Middle Eastern (True Lies couldnít be made the same way today), and weíre in two hot wars with them anyway, so we might as well reactivate the Cold War in movies. Itís comforting, somehow, a throwback to the Ď80s.

Salt is an aesthetically pleasing machine, with fine little witty touches ó I enjoyed the bit with Salt repeatedly tasering a barely conscious driver to jolt him into keeping a vehicle going. But a lot of it slips oneís mind as soon as itís over, and itís easy to forget that anyone but Jolie is in it. Liev Schreiber and Chiwetel Ejiofor, as fellow CIA guys, spend much of the movie squinting at monitors or coughing on Saltís dust as she sprints out of their grasp. August Diehl (Inglourious Basterds) makes a brief impression as Saltís husband, who she originally hooked up with as part of her job but who ended up winning her heart anyway.

Salt also has a cute little dog, and I was grateful that the film took time to show her leaving the dog with a little girl for safekeeping. But by the end of the movie, which explicitly leaves the door open for a franchise, I wasnít concerned with how Salt would pursue her new mission; I worried about whether the doggie missed her all this time and whether Salt would ever see it again. You put a pet in this kind of movie, Iím going to think about stuff like that. Sorry.

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originally posted: 07/26/10 07:14:38
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User Comments

9/01/13 Charles Tatum Good action scenes almost save far fetched story 3 stars
3/04/12 Raven I still don't get it. I wasted a lot of minutes. Jolie does kick ass though. 3 stars
1/18/12 Marc DC Salt could use some salt. Very boring, predictable, not believable... 2 stars
9/11/11 Captain00Kirk Angelina Jolie kicks ass, nuff said! 4 stars
4/18/11 Chris. Someone forgot to tell them the ante was upped with Bourne--can't have average action now. 3 stars
2/24/11 millersxing I felt cheated not to see a sidekick like in Aeon Flux but named "Pepa" 3 stars
1/27/11 mr.mike With regards to Ebert , thumbs up. 4 stars
1/26/11 Smitty Plot full of holes - great action - Best James Bond movie that James Bond never made. 5 stars
12/22/10 action movie fan jolie accused of being russian mole-exciting with a very surprising end twist-very good 4 stars
9/15/10 Emiliano plot full of holes, action scenes well done 3 stars
9/02/10 Floorphiler about as stupid as Eagle Eye (2008) 2 stars
8/01/10 Durwood I can't tell you what it's about because I didn't get a thing out of it--boring!!! 1 stars
8/01/10 Alice I love it! Bravo! 5 stars
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  23-Jul-2010 (PG-13)
  DVD: 21-Dec-2010


  DVD: 21-Dec-2010

Directed by
  Phillip Noyce

Written by
  Kurt Wimmer

  Angelina Jolie
  Liev Schreiber
  Chiwetel Ejiofor

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