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'Salt' Lacks Flavor, But Angie�s Still Got Spice: Movie Review

'Salt' Lacks Flavor, But Angie�s Still Got Spice: Movie Review

There really isn’t anything Angelina Jolie can’t do. The 35-year-old actress does most of her own stunts and is still scaling buildings and leaping onto moving trucks as zealously as ever. Thank goodness for that because it’s her intensity that keeps the craziness that is 'Salt' afloat.

There really isn’t anything Angelina Jolie can’t do. The 35-year-old actress does most of her own stunts and is still scaling buildings and leaping onto moving trucks as zealously as ever. Thank goodness for that because it’s her intensity that keeps the craziness that is Salt afloat.

I can’t reveal much of the plot without giving away any of the endless -- a few actually shocking -- twists, but essentially Salt is about CIA agent Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie, duh), who is accused of being a Russian spy. She quickly becomes a fugitive and basically spends the rest of the film proving to be indestructible while beating anyone who stands in her way to a pulp. Liev Schreiber and Chiwetel Ejiofor star as her confused coworkers, and they do a wonderful job of never failing to look conflicted. A very successful drinking game could probably be made out of the unruly amount of plot twists in the last half hour, and by the time Angie – toward the end of the film -- was swinging over a staircase looking like a zombie Peter Pan about to sing a carnivourous rendition of “I’m Flying,” I’d pretty much given up on any higher expectations.

To be fair, I really did enjoy the first third of Salt. It’s fast-paced, well-crafted  and an action-packed good time that I hoped would give way to an even better conclusion. It also has a very engaging soundtrack by the brilliant James Newton Howard that definitely deserves a mention.

Sadly, the film gets lost in its own game of cat and mouse and eventually I couldn’t help but lose interest in the characters. However, Angelina Jolie never ceases to be the epitome of fierceness, and director Phillip Noyce is well aware that. When in doubt, a good, long shot of her face will most likely distract from any plot issues. If only this were enough.

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Unfortunately, no matter how admirable the action is or how glowing Angelina’s cheekbones are up close, the script has a few too many “Seriously? This made it into the final draft?” moments that I’d expect more from a Syfy original movie than a feature film (and I say that with much love toward the Syfy channel). It is almost so overly dramatic that I have to wonder whether Phillip Noyce intended for it to be at least somewhat of a parody. If not, my audible laughter at the totally unbelievable moments- and there are many- was completely inappropriate.

By the end, Salt turns into a medley of absurdity, and either you’re singing along or have tuned out completely. My moviegoing mother found it fun. I, on the other hand, wanted to write the screenwriter asking him to clarify his many questionable choices. Still, Angelina fans are sure to be pleased with her amount of screen time, and while it is far from Oscar worthy, Salt does have a lot to offer in the action department.

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What Salt also provides without a doubt is another badass heroine who singlehandedly takes matters into her own hands, which is always appreciated. It’s looking be a generally successful season for these leading ladies, including Piper Perabo in USA’s Covert Affairs, Milla Jovovich and Ali Larter in September’s Resident Evil: Afterlife, and my personal favorite, Noomi Rapace’s Lisbeth Salander from the Millennium Series. And while I am complete in love with Rapace’s portrayal of the introvert super hacker with an extremely violent side in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (read it or rent it- either way, it’s the best adventure I’ve had all summer), I couldn’t help but notice how taylor-made the role would have been for a much younger Angelina. That’s not at all to say that Angie’s is getting old, it’s just that her days of looking like a fourteen-year-old boy are long gone.

If these actresses and their characters prove anything, it’s that female ass-kickers are just as competent, if not more so, than the dominating male presence in the movie industry nowadays. Lisbeth Salander could take down Spiderman in a second, and Salt, well, apparently Salt can take down anyone with anything in no time at all. I can only hope the Salt sequel- and yes, there will be a sequel- has a much clearer head than its predecessor. If that’s the case, than count me in for what could very well be a genuinely awesome ride.

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