Well, first of all, I think they should’ve come up with a better title for this forgettable actioner. What kind of a title is Salt? You’re not sure if this is THE summer blockbuster starring Angelina Jolie or a documentary about how we’re going to run out of salt in a few years. Moving on, Salt is a movie about a CIA agent Evelyn Salt who’s set up, double-crossed, and left for dead. She now must find a way to clear her name, find out who set her up, and kick some ass in the meantime. Your standard issue spy action thriller in the vein of Mission Impossible.
Funny I should mention that movie because, originally, Salt had a different lead. Tom Cruise eventually moved on to other projects and here comes Mrs. Angelina Jolie to save the day. During the opening 30 minutes, she was excellent and everything she did was well-thought-out. However, as time went on, the stunts and action scenes started becoming more and more unbelievable. Jolie is far too skinny to take down guys that easily. They tried to correct this with her running up the wall before each punch but you can’t use this trick all the time.
Just get her some guns for fucks sake. Get her some knives, bombs, shurikens, anything she can use from a distance. Moreover, our salty agent seems to have an endless supply of energy. She’s jumping, running, fighting all the time never once showing any signs of fatigue. All of this relegates Salt to the bargain bin and makes good for exactly one viewing. Sure, the production values are excellent along with the pacing and direction. And the running time is quite short making the whole movie feel more digestible.
After her release from the North Korean prison, CIA agent Evelyn Salt tried to move on with her life as best as she could. It’s been two years now and we find her interrogating a Russian spy. This is a very important interrogation as it would appear there’s a plot to destroy the US in the works. Russians intend on using sleeper agents and wreaking havoc on a country as a whole. And right in the middle of this interrogation, a Russian spy accuses Salt of being a double agent. And now all hell breaks loose…
Underneath all the action is actually a good and intriguing story involving spies, secret agencies, and the usual conspiracy stuff. This is what keeps the movie ticking even offering some surprising twists along the way. Something we’ve seen in another Phillip Noyce movie, Clear and Present Danger. He also worked with Jolie in The Bone Collector although I think his best movie is Dead Calm. However, I do wonder when they’ll stop using the whole US-Russia thing. I mean, the Cold War has been over for almost 20 years.
Salt ends on a high note clearly setting up a possible sequel. However, everything depends on how well the movie is going to perform at the box office. While we wait for those results, you might want to check out Columbiana, another action thriller featuring a strong female lead. And if you’re up for more of Angelina Jolie do take a look at Wanted and Cyborg 2: Glass Shadow.
Fun Facts: The script alterations after Tom Cruise was replaced by Angelina Jolie included a highly contentious decision to leave Evelyn Salt without children. The original version of the script with Tom Cruise features him as a single parent who leaves his kid at home while he’s off fighting the good fight. Apparently, the studios thought that the character of Evelyn Salt would be viewed as a bad mother if she left her kid at home revealing a double standard. Also, to make things even weirder, Angelina Jolie was a mother at the time of the production.