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Aug 11, 2010

Fletch's Film Review: Salt

Some thoughts on Salt - ones with spoilers will be noted:

* On the surface, I very much like the idea of Salt. It has a lot two very large things going for it: an action heroine, seen only typically these days in ridiculous sci-fi extravaganzas (Underworld, Resident Evil), and an ambiguous protagonist, played to a pretty good effect. These are two rarities, and though their inclusion here isn't alone enough to make Salt great, it is certainly enough to make it stand out, and these days that's saying something.

* SPOILER - I'm amused that what we're left rooting for is essentially a traitor. In these days of jingoistic patriotism, I guess it's okay to have a traitor heroine so long as she's doing so on the behalf of the U.S. It's a bit more gray than I make it out to be, but that's the essence, right? END SPOILER

* WTF happened to Andre Braugher's career?

The guy was nothing but lauded for Homicide. He had a typical up-and-coming guy role in 1996's Primal Fear, which I realize was 14 years ago. His movie career is littered with trash, from Poseidon to City of Angels to Passengers to the Fantastic Four sequel. His TV career post-2000 has been filled with shows that no one ever cared about (Hack, Gideon's Crossing, Men of a Certain Age).

Does Andre Braugher have the worst agent ever?

Oh, but I've saved the best for last. Braugher "co-stars" in Salt. I should use more like four sets of quotation marks for that; he's listed in the credits as the "Secretary of Defense" (not even warranting a name) and has no more than two lines in his 26 seconds of screen time. This is a six-time Emmy nominee and two-time winner! I mean, I don't dream about the guy or anything, but jeez, what a sad display.

* I don't really have anything to say about Chewitall Edgeonthefloor - though he is become a master of the "Anguished-and-not-sure-what-to-do Face" - but I have to mention him just because it tickles commenter Nic Cage so much.

* It's pretty much a given that when you go to see a piece of popcorn entertainment like this, you had better turn your brain off, especially for the action sequences, which (can and do) strain the limits of human capabilities and musculature.

That I can live with. I won't even mention the three times our Evelyn Salt jumps from one place to the top of a truck that's in motion.

However...SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT...the entire third act of this movie is pretty goddamn stupid. Let's recap:

Evelyn meets up with her old mentor. She joins him in watching her husband get murdered so that she can guarantee that mentor trusts her. Not ten minutes later, she's killed him and the rest of his team. She then joins another old buddy (now a NATO operative or something) for some catching up on their way to D.C., where he hooks her up with a disguise. They arrive at the White House, he kamikazis himself, she makes her way down to the White House Bunker not to start a nuclear war, but to make sure that one doesn't get started...by the man that she didn't know was going to do so in the first place - her old boss.

Now wait just a minute. Back up. Let me 'splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

We're shown the entire film that Evelyn is looking out for nothing more than to save her husband's life. If she were going to turn on her mentor, why not do it before he kills hubby? It's not as though she went through a lot of change and growth and time prior to turning on mentor - it was her plan the whole damn time!

Next - the entire D.C./bunker sequence is moot if she doesn't go to D.C. in the first place. The only reason that old boss, Andre Braugher, POTUS, et al, even go down to the bunker is because Salt is in the building. This is some kind of pretzel logic that I'll never understand.

Fletch's Film Rating:
"You seem a decent fellow. I hate to kill you."
"You seem a decent fellow. I hate to kill you."
Large Association of Movie Blogs

5 people have chosen wisely: on "Fletch's Film Review: Salt"

Jess said...

I laughed at that too, and agree with your rating. It was exactly as good as the trailer promised it would be. Not better, not worse. I just hope it doesn't lead to a franchise.

Fletch said...

Jess - well, you can tell that they're certainly hoping it will be. Hard to say if the box office will be enough to warrant it, though I wouldn't be surprised at all to see a Direct-to-DVD Salt 2 in the future starring Shannyn Sossaman (Angie's junior clone).

Fitz said...

Crap trailer, crap movie. Not surprised.

Dave said...

Oh Jess, please don't mention the possibility of a franchise. I really like Philip Noyce even though he rarely makes spectacular movies. One of my favorite movies is The Saint, which truly fits around the same location...decent to good. Salt however, is simply an action film which is driven by the fact that Jolie is in it. The twists are, as mentioned in the review, ones that really result in the film making little sense; especially from a motivation standpoint. Still an entertaining film though.