Movie Review: ‘Salt’

Gabriel Stoffa

There’s just something I like about Angelina Jolie as a spy.

In her newest movie “Salt,” Jolie gets to beat down dozens of dudes, allowing for a real “girl power” of a good time, while still showing her feminine side through a relationship with an arachnologist — yeah, the arachnologist guy is a bit too obvious when it comes to foreshadowing, but oh well.

So, in another attempt to woo crowds into applauding action movies that are a little bit smarter — i.e., through empowering women — “Salt” is designed to do what most other action films do, but with the roles flipped. This literally true, as Tom Cruise was originally slated for the role before the script was redrafted for Jolie.

The plot hinges on a claim by a Russian defector that Jolie is actually a Russian sleeper agent that has been living in the United States most of her life, waiting to be activated.

Without giving away any twists and turns, I’ll tell you this: The audience is supposed to wonder throughout the movie as to whether or not Jolie is this sleeper agent, or is actually just super-highly trained C.I.A. agent being set up.

Now, I mentioned before that I like Jolie as a spy. I do, but in “Salt” it was just sort of a waste. I really think they should have gotten another actress to play the role.

Jolie has some serious bad girl attitude, and I like that. But in this it sort of detracts from her character, as she is supposed to be a little more tender for this role. Again, I can’t explain in further detail without giving much of the plot away, so you’ll have to evaluate for yourself.

Some highlights of the movie include the two lead male roles: Liev Schreiber as Jolie’s boss, and Chiwetel Ejiofor as another C.I.A. operative.

Both of these men are actors I genuinely think have a lot of talent that is underused by Hollywood. Particularly Ejiofor, who continues to get the brush-off when it comes to movies, is a good actor in every movie he’s in.

As Jolie races against the combined efforts of the F.B.I., C.I.A. and U.S. Secret Service, “Salt” throws action sequence after action sequence at the audience as they hope, in vain, to see Jolie flash some skin — OK, maybe that was just me, and I should go watch “Gia” and get my skin-fix there.

The action is pretty good; it carries itself with more than just big booms and elaborate fights. Though, some of Jolie’s leaps from semi to car to whatever are a little bit hard for my brain to wrap around, as the physics are possible, but really unlikely. Also, I didn’t like the number of jumping-off-the-wall kicks used and think the CGI use could have been cooler.

I will forgive this as Jolie is still alluring while flinging herself into certain death and landing with a sexy grunt in a prone position — OK fine, I have a thing for Jolie, but then, so do something like 90 percent of men and women in America.

Along with sex appeal from Jolie, good action and fine acting from her co-stars, “Salt” has solid scenery choices and cinematography. I feel I must add though that I absolutely love New York and enjoy D.C., so my enjoyment of the location shots may be biased.

Now, I found the twists and supposed surprises to be a little obvious, as I tend to notice red herrings and foreshadowing readily. Therefore I was not overly impressed with the results of”Salt.” This may not be a difficulty for other movie-goers, as you are watching for entertainment as the primary. I will warn you to not try and think ahead, as you will figure things out readily if you do, and the movie is better if you just let Jolie go through the motions.

Overall, I found “Salt” entertaining. Nothing to rush out and see, but an OK matinee show and easily watchable when released for home consumption.

Spoiler alert, so quit reading if you don’t want to know details: “Salt” is readily set up to become a franchise pic, so don’t be surprised if this becomes a “Mission Impossible” series for Jolie. Which would be appropriate, as Jolie is sorta crazy and over-the-top in that Cruise-like life antics way.