Jen Yamato
Salt Review

Jen's Rating:


Beware the deadly shoe-knife.

Who's In It: Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, Chiwetel Ejiofor, August Diehl, Daniel Olbrychski, Andre Braugher

The Basics: Angelina Jolie stars as Evelyn Salt, a CIA operative with a specialty in Soviet espionage (the Cold War -- still relevant!) who's just begun cozying into a desk job and settling into a normal life away from the field -- that is, until the day a Russian defector fingers her as a double agent. Wrongly accused, Salt goes on the run in disguise to find her hapless science nerd husband and figure out who's behind a plot to kill the Russian president. You know what that means: New clothes! New hairdos! Makeshift weapons fashioned out of office supplies! And plenty of scenes in which people get killed the old-fashioned way. Okay, more like the over-the-top-'90s action way. Two words: shoe-knife!

What's The Deal: It's violent. It's action-packed. It's silly. It's Salt. (Worst movie title ever?) Some folks may enjoy the harebrained shenanigans of this spy-on-the-lam action thriller as an easy, mindless hour and 40 minutes in a darkened theater, but there's one person who's seemingly not aware of how stupid the whole thing is: Angelina Jolie. Her steely gaze screams, "I know this movie was meant for Tom Cruise, and goshdarnit, I can be Tom Cruise, too!" But where Cruise informs his movie spy persona with a hint of awareness and humor (and let's face it, slightly unhinged but controlled and maybe deadly personas come naturally to him), Jolie is overly actor-serious, especially considering that she's smack dab in the middle of one of the most ridiculous and improbable plots in the history of spy movies. All of which might have worked had the filmmakers had actually intended Salt to be absurd; instead, it's painfully clear that everyone, from director Phillip Noyce to poor Andre Braugher (who shows up and gets all of two throwaway lines, and only at the very end of the film), was convinced they were making a gritty female Bourne flick. And they couldn't have failed more miserably.

Things That Amused Me, Briefly: Aside from the unintentional laughs? Watching the stick-thin Jolie incapacitate all manner of full-sized, fully trained men with leaping wall kicks, fisticuffs, and MacGyvered household objects. And I did love the guy who kills two men with his deadly shoe-knife. But I spent most of the runtime pondering the bizarre series of looks and outfits Jolie had to transform into, with varied results: in her CIA office, prim in a dress suit, she recalls a Hitchcock blonde. On the lam, with her long hair dyed black, she looks vaguely dominatrix-like. But just when things really go off the rails, in comes Jolie disguised as a man wearing a fake rubber face and man hair, resembling a gun-toting Liza Minnelli in menswear.

How Disturbing Is It To See Angelina Jolie in Drag? It's the closest she's ever come to "uglifying" herself for a film role, and it's the strangest single "WTF?" moment in the entire movie -- possibly in her entire career, including the "kissing her brother in public" incident and her "I wear a vial of blood around my neck" phase.

Who Deserves A Shoe-Knife To Their Laptop: Literally no plot point in this twist-filled, conspiracy story makes any kind of real-world sense. It's harder to follow than the plot of Inception, and much less believable. A single name in the credits explains it all: Kurt Wimmer. Why did anyone let the guy who made Ultraviolet write a franchise-starting star vehicle for Angelina Jolie?


Comments (4)

Dave - 10-02-2010 8:47 AM
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you seriously have no taste. I pray a shoe knife goes in your neck.

Yasmine - 10-22-2010 9:40 AM
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This was the only review I kind of disagree with you on. Kind-of. ;-) Salt is a pretty much mindless movie. At first, I felt the same way as you did, but then when I just sat back and took it for what it was - woman vs. men, blood, screams, kicks, and a whole lot of talk - I enjoyed it. It really didn't have much of a story, and the ending left me hanging. It's a very fun unrealistic movie. Otherwise, you write excellent reviews. Keep up the good work.

gitbox - 12-26-2010 12:45 PM
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Agreed. This is the stupidest, most cliched crock of believability I've seen up to this point. At least I could laugh at the sci-fi movies where characters wore motorcycle helmets in space and hung from visible cables. It should have stayed true to physics and ended when she rolled off the overpass and splatted on the highway. Or better yet, just put her in superhero leotards. Then it would make sense.

kenny - 1-03-2011 7:13 PM
Flag This Comment need professional help to carelessly wish violence on someone. Anyway, Jen's right. Salt was just awful. No debate possible. I was laughing the entire film. It was a Sprillomedy, right? (Spy Thriller Comedy) Yasmine, you enjoyed it cause of the women kicking men's butt's theme? What is with you girls? You sure enjoy living in the fantasy world. In reality, no army of women is going to beat an army of men. To be sure, no one woman is going to beat an army of men either. Jolie is so pencil thin, which is cleverly disguised in the movie, a solid punch in the face from her scrawny arms would barely scratch an itch on a man. And I would hate to think that our various govt. agencies are as lame as the movie claims, to have one skinn

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