If anyone ever wondered how would Angelina Jolie would look as a male, then Salt is a must watch as Jolie ‘mans up’ figuratively and literally for the film. Salt is core action slash thriller. Jolie has always had this bad-ass attitude on screen and Salt is no different. Jolie embodies the character and delivers probably not her greatest role, but manages to keep it interesting and in line.

Salt follows Evelyn Salt, an undercover CIA agent who has been rescued after being held captive in North Korea. Years later, a happily married Salt faces an incursion at her ‘workplace’, and it is revealed by a Russian intruder, Orlov, a Russian spy named after Evelyn Salt is to kill the President of Russia at the U.S. Vice-President’s memorial service; Orlov also hints at ‘Day X’, what supposedly will mark the end of the United States. Salt is immediately held in the facilities after the allegation she had been just inflicted upon, and raises speculation among her co-workers. Salt flees the building in pursue of her husband as no one seems to believe she is not a spy, she then embarks in a series of missions to prove she is not who Orlov claims her to be; at least not in it’s entirely.

Salt is a slight swindle of The Manchurian Candidate, a film which ironically Jolie’s co-star Liev Schreiber, also stars in. The Manchurian Candidate is essentially about soldiers being trained to trigger after being exposed to particular stimulus to obey commands and carry out missions automatically after intensive psychological and physiological manipulation. Salt draws in this particular element off the aforementioned film, as Evelyn Salt was allegedly correspondingly trained as such in the film as well, after a short background history is given about the character as the film progresses. This does not mean it is a bad film, on the contrary, the idea is not recycled but given a different twist as Salt is not a controlled zombie in comparison to what The Manchurian Candidate soldiers served as, but instead is aware of all she was involved in as a child in a conscious level, what her motives were, and what she was supposed to fulfill at an older age. Salt is able to take control of her condition as a trained spy/assassin, allowing her the chance to choose, which only polishes or furthers the idea presented in The Manchurian Candidate.

The fighting sequences are very well shot. Jolie seems to lack that energy she used to have in these types of sequences before becoming a mother, but still convinces the viewer; at least she reportedly did all the stunts herself, or most. The script is nothing to write home about, but who can pay attention to this film script when its value lays on how Jolie kicks ass and how she gets it kicked as well. The film is a mirroring of all the already successfully famous action thrillers in the likes of Mission Impossible, James Bond, The Bourne Identity and its ensuing sequels, and even Jolie’s Tomb Raider.

Director Philip Noyce did a wonderful job with how the whole film was screened. Despite Noyce not quite having a pretty extensive film catalog since starting in the early 1970’s, Noyce equals quality nevertheless. Noyce also worked with Jolie for 1999’s The Bone Collector starring Denzel Washington.

The plot is unbelievable, in the literal sense of the word. The film is unlikely and utmost fantasy. It is surely entertaining, and may take the viewer off reality focus for over an hour and a half but it is no more than an action film, there is no substance and there is overuse, overexposure, and over-imaginative technological advance. Substance is not needed in films like this, when its main purpose is to take one off their daily routines.

The film already looks like it could have a follow-up, and its natural considering how much the film alone has earned with just Jolie’s face stamped all over it, as well as how it ends. Salt marks yet another successful character by Jolie, though if she could only pull off another Girl Interrupted-esque role, she would totally step outside of the box.

★★★★

C.Perez

Watch the trailer below!