Sunday, January 30, 2011

Salt - Angelina, The Beautiful Action Hero

Other than Uma Thurman as Beatrix Kiddo, Angelina Jolie may be the greatest female action hero of the last 10 years. Having roles ranging from Tomb Raider, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and Wanted, Angelina once again proves she can wield a gun with her gorgeous looks in Salt. Angelina, as Evelyn Salt, is supposedly a Russian Sleeper Agent working for the CIA. When she is allegedly awakened to bring America into political turmoil, she is on the run to stay alive. With many twists and turns, the audience continues to question if Salt is an American Hero or a Russian Spy.

The film keeps you on the edge of your seat with "cat and mouse" chases, assassination attempts, and shoot em' up battles. One of the best sequences shows Salt jumping from vehicle to vehicle on a motor freeway. These stunts and visuals are on par with the highway action scene in The Matrix Reloaded (it's really the only good thing from that film). Directing the film is Phillip Noyce, known for other political thrillers such as Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger (both starring action hero Harrison Ford).

Angelina is one of my favorite actresses. She is beautiful, yet knows how to intimidate. She is able to maintain her femininity after being tortured or surviving a gun fight. In Salt, an element she did so well was change her appearance (and we have to give credit to the make-up staff as well). Being a master of disguise, she transformed herself from an American, to a Russian, to a Puerto Rican, and even into a man. I know not everyone likes her, but I I'd choose Angelina over Jennifer any day.

To help ground Salt with humanity, she is married to an everyday citizen played by actor August Diehl. As a Tarantino shout-out, we've seen Diehl in Inglourious Basterds. He played Major Hellstrom, the infamous Nazi who uncovered Operation Kino in the tavern cellar. He met his demise in a Mexican Stand-Off with a pistol aimed at his manhood.

Mixing elements from both Bourne and Bond, Salt could continue as a franchise. She is an American fugitive trying to bring down the same Russian sleeper cell she is accused of supporting. Based on popcorn fun and Sunday afternoon re-watchability, I give Salt - 4 out of 5 stars.

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