To call Phillip Noyce's new film Salt, starring Angelina Jolie, Bourne with breasts, is probably selling this surprisingly rousing action thriller a bit short. Granted, Noyce's latest espionage thriller is not on the same level as the Bourne films - it never hits the cerebral strides of that series nor do the action sequences here measure up to the almost surreal absurdity of what is going on there - nor does this film ever shock or surprise its audience (as again, the Bourne films most certainly do) but when it comes to a pure, unadulterated ass-kicking good time, where one need not think but just sit back and enjoy, Salt delivers - in proverbial spades.
Jolie, who has already made a splash kicking big-time ass as Lara Croft (splash may be a bit too strong of a word but let's go with it anyway), is superspy Evelyn Salt in this (almost) seemingly outdated cold war espionage thriller (are we really still at war with the Russians!?) but the real question lies in whether she is on our side or their side - or nobody but her own's side. I won't give away the answer to those questions here (though the finale, post-commie sleeper agent or not, leaves more than enough room for Salt 2 - former President Carter may make a cameo!) but I suppose Noyce's film - and Jolie's Bourne-like acrobatics (she kills a man with a vodka bottle!!) - is not really relying on complete answers (or even sentences) to make its point - which I believe is "girls are hot when they are kicking your ass".
That being well and true and all, Noyce's film delivers almost non-stop action from about twenty minutes in until the final leap of faith for Jolie. Granted, one can surely see the ending coming the proverbial mile away (I still won't spoil anything for those unable to see quite that far), but still, it is a pretty fun ride getting to that proverbial mile marker - even if it is a bit on the ridiculous side. But to reiterate, girls look really hot when they are kicking your ass. [08/12/10]