Salt - Movie Review

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First off, if I were a double agent working for the CIA, I would immediately change my name to something far less conspicuous than something that sounds made up specifically for the purpose of an action film. Secondly, I think Pepper is altogether a better name. Yet here we are with Salt, a film that most likely does not want to be compared to the Bourne series yet undeniably will. So to make things easier to swallow, I'll take this Salt with a serving of 3 Days of the Condor.

If you've seen that classic then you're probably aware that film was not so much of an action film as a political thriller, and Salt at the very beginning almost becomes one. Deep down I have a weakness for any film that features an otherwise regular joe in extraordinary circumstances, and I think most people can relate. In this case that joe is a jill by the name of Salt (Angelina Jolie) who works as an agent in the CIA. Yes, that's not quite so regular, but with her tight fitting skirt and well-groomed hair she doesn't seem like the type to go rogue and start kicking ass whilst taking names. However, when one of her Russian interrogatees claims that's exactly what she will do, it seems like Salt doesn't have much of a choice but to oblige.

But once she begins to leap from truck top to truck top, we start to wonder if there is some truth to what the Russian said. The mystery keeps us engaged, at least until the film's half-way point, but it also keeps Salt too far away from the dinner plate. Not knowing who exactly she is and what is motivating her creates a character who, I must say at this point, is simply not as likable or interesting as Jason Bourne or James Bond. Yes, she's quite fun to have around while she's tinkering with a fire extinguisher and disassembling a desk chair, but with not much charm and personality, I had little concern over her well-being.

Clearly, this was developed to be the first part of a very long series of films. Apparently there's no shortage of evil Russians to be defeated. Naturally, this also means that the film ends on a somewhat unsatisfying note. Can't all of this mess be cleared up by asking one person of high authority what in the heck happened? I think so. In fact, by the end, I'm sure Salt really has nothing much left to be afraid of. I guess that's a minor gripe.

The movie has some great set pieces, especially for an action film. As Salt made her way from ledge to ledge, and truck to truck, I have to say my stomach was wrung like a wet towel. A specific act of vengeance had me laughing in approval, a sure sign that something was done very right. In the acting department we have Liev Schreiber, who I tend to like no matter what film he choses and what character he plays. Overall, I left the theater happy, and I'd be glad to check out what Salt has to offer next. That is, unless her competition puts something better on the table.

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