Salt (2010)

★ ★ ☆ ☆

Salt is an average action movie posing as a thoughtful psychological thriller. It seems like a strange cross between Jason Bourne and M. Night Shyamalan. Only explosions outnumber the plot twists. I'll grant that it was somewhat entertaining, but you've got to really suspend disbelief to allow for some of the physics defying stunts, not to mention the implausible plot line. Like I said, average action movie.

What is unique about Salt is the pacing. The plot twists are so frenetic that it seemed much longer than an hour and forty minutes. Coming from Kurt Wimmer, author of Sphere and Equilibrium, this isn't surprising. He's made a career out of throwing curveballs. Unfortunately for him, throwing the same pitch every game causes the hitter to adjust. And adjust, the audience does. Throwing in a plot twist every five minutes is distracting, not clever.

Director Philip Noyce did a reasonable job, given the script. Though the action sequences were unrealistic, they weren't lacking in suspense. My one criticism would be that sometimes it seems like snippets were filmed in fast forward. I think this was to disguise some of the lesser realistic stunts. There is at least one time where we see Angelina fly across the screen, and it's hard to tell what exactly happened to the man left laying on the ground. Now that I think about it, that was probably wise.

I haven't seen any of Angelina Jolie's previous action roles, so I really didn't know what to expect from her performance. Frankly, it wasn't bad. Some of her stunts were distractingly unrealistic, but she can't be blamed for playing the role that was written for her. I was surprised by how good her Russian pronunciation was (assuming that it was actually her voice). I'm usually annoyed when English actors pretend to be Russians, but she didn't seem anywhere near as contrived as other actors do. The rest of the cast (minus Liev Schreiber) was passable, including a solid performance from Chiwetel Ejiofor. As for Schreiber, well, he was as wooden as always.

I can't say that I'm disappointed with Salt. I expected an average movie, and that's what I got. Then again, anything is a pleasant surprise after The Sorcerer's Apprentice. For a summer movie, I'd say it's worth a watch. That is, unless you haven't seen Inception a second time yet.