Who is SALT? This is the question you’ll undoubtedly find yourself asking throughout the entire movie, should you decide to go. But at the end, see if you’re don’t come to the same conclusion that I do — who really cares?
Angelina Jolie stars in this action flick as (purported) russian spy Evelyn Salt. She’s a brilliant replacement for the original actor, Tom Cruise, who was to play Evan Salt. But while Cruise is currently fighting it up with Cameron Diaz in “Knight and Day,” Jolie slips back into the familiar ruthless killer role that made us love her in “Tomb Raider” and “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.”
Written by: Kurt Wimmer
Starring:Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Daniel Olbrychski
The plot is this — Salt, who works for the CIA, heads for the hills when a Russian defector claims she’s planning to kill the Russian president at the American vice president’s funeral. She claims to be innocent, that she’s only running to protect her husband. The plot thickens when her husband is brutally murdered by the Russian who ratted her out. Truly pissed off now, Salt goes on a killing spree that ends with her in control of American nuclear weapons.
Now who wouldn’t be interested in that plot? Certainly, this reviewer was. But as the audience vacillates back and forth (Is she innocent? Is she really a spy? Was her husband a cover?), a more accurate thermometer for the potential popularity of this movie becomes clear — it’s really fun to watch Angelina Jolie display creative new ways to kill people.
So who cares if she’s a spy or not? The plot is a thinly-veiled reason for Jolie to leap from the tops of fast-moving trucks on freeways without getting a scratch. Her stunning killer-face is firmly in place as she yanks a motorcycle right out from under a guy with one hand. In possibly the most breathtaking action sequence in the film, she leaps into the center of a stairwell and dangles by a chain wrapped around a guy’s neck.
Sure, we never really know who Salt is — because she never speaks. Jolie’s only lines are “I’m innocent” repeated over and over again with varying levels of urgency as she moves from one killing sequence to the next. But who’s complaining? Well, maybe me, but just a little. The only weakness of the movie is that we get little real acting from a very good actress (remember “Girl, Interrupted”?). But, in part, that gets made up for with some good acting from Liev Schreiber, who plays her CIA buddy.
In the end, if you want to see some acting, go see “Inception.” But for a good old summertime romp with Russian spies and car chases, “SALT” is your movie.