Angelina Jolie's headlining role as Evelyn Salt in this all-action popcorn flick genuinely saves the film's bacon. Y'see, it's ridiculously far-fetched, but a sprightly script, some juicy twists and Jolie's no-frills performance make it a lot of fun to watch. Salt is hugely entertaining back-end-of-summer blockbuster fodder. A new Bourne? Perhaps. We shall see. The plot? Aw man, that's anyone's guess after the first half an hour. I'm kidding.
The story follows Evelyn Salt, a CIA agent who may be may be/may not be a Russian spy, as she runs from one loud set piece to another in an attempt to clear her name/save the world. The format is nice- little build up, with chunks of back story filled in via well timed flashbacks. Angelina Jolie must really get some bruises when making flicks like this, as there are some outstanding stunts and fight sequences amidst the twists and turns of this extremely fast paced film.
Liev Schreiber is well cast as her friend and work partner (although I couldn't stop thinking 'That dude was Sabretooth... that Wolverine flick sucked.'), and it's always a pleasure to see Chiwetel Ejiofor on the screen (even with a slightly too-forced American accent). Where the film suffers is that there is possibly too much going on at any one time to really take it in.
Mind you, this could be a good thing, as there are some moments that are just so very improbable that if you think about them too much, you would start to realize that Salt must actually have a mutant healing factor (Maybe she got it from Sabretooth...). As an entertaining action film, it works brilliantly, and there still manages to be a few surprises along the way despite the fact that the trailer gives the whole film away.
The whole espionage/counter-espionage angle is handled nicely and feels suitably secretive and complicated, but folks are really sat in front of this to see stuff blow up and watch Angelina kick people's faces to pieces. One issue I must take up is the rating - !”A in the UK – which is grotesquely inappropriate for a film with so much violence. However, this is the fault of the BBFC and not the people involved in the flick itself. A 15 would have been ideal.
Anyway, back to the film.
The scenes with the Russian characters have a delightfully sinister air, and while the ending is rather predictable, it is nevertheless satisfying. Things explode, Angelina keeps eluding capture, and her methods become ever more outlandish as the film goes on. The question of 'Who is Salt' is still not answered completely by the time the credits roll, but with a sequel nicely set up, there's plenty of time to find out more about this character and her past. Sprinkled lightly, Salt really does stop the film tasting bland.