Sunday, 22 August 2010
Orienteering is more fun with Angelina Jolie.
Few names can make me so suspicious of a film going in then Kurt Wimmer. Brett Ratner? Paul W.S Anderson maybe. No matter, the mind behind Ultraviolet's particularly feeble brand of sci-fi action movies grows weary on my patience. Salt seems to be a bit bigger scale for Wimmer, with semi-credible director Philip Noyce attached, and possibly the only female action star with the ability to make people pay money to see her kick hordes of ass. I find this amusing, because Angelina Jolie is looking particularly skeletal these days, yet the sight of her beating the shit out of a succession of massive guys is something I bizarrely accept, even if it makes no sense.
Maybe its because Jolie has an innate otherworldly quality, something that few movie stars have and its something that has kept her career afloat much more then her choices in films. A lot of crap on that CV. Still as Jennifer Aniston would no doubt attest to, she has a certain something and if there's a reason why Salt isn't quite as shit as Equilibrium or Ultraviolet then its her, annihilating anonymous government officials with the same kind of dead-eyed grace we've come to expect. The plot itself is some spy-hokem nonsense, complete with long-dormant sleeper agents and plans to assassinate the president and destroy the world. Classic Wimmer subtelty, but the action is refreshingly un-CGI even if it isn't the most thrilling thing I've ever seen, and there's a calm, re-assuring supporting performance from Liev Schreiber, as there always is when he's involved. Also I enjoyed a brief cameo from August Diehl, the German actor who almost stole Inglourious Basterds in a single scene last year. He's not really given that much to do, but is great to see him get work. I hate it when actors give great performances and then you never see them again.
Ultimately though, Salt is the kind of mildly enjoyable but ultimately disposable summer blockbuster that won't change the world but could distract you for a couple of hours. Looked at in another scale of criticism, it might be Kurt Wimmer's masterpiece. Largely because he didn't direct it and for various other reasons that aren't to do with him but still. There that is.