Monday, 1 July 2013

No salt in Salt (2010)

The White House has unimaginable layers of security with Secret Service personnel trained for nothing short of a war guarding it from both within and outside. Yet, “rogue” CIA agent Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie), disguised as a male Russian army captain, walks into the world’s most famous residence like she was walking into her own house, shoots her way through the seemingly impregnable fortress, and manages to go down to the bunker where agents are guarding the President. In the bunker, her boss Ted Winter (Liev Schreiber), who is the real spy, knocks the President unconscious and uses his hand to try and activate the codes that will launch nuclear missiles in the Middle East. Jolie and Schreiber spend several minutes having a tête-à-tête and fighting and shooting each other, even as the President lies comatose on the floor and elite commandos try to blast their way into the bunker. All this happens in the bowels of the White House.

I thought the entire scene, in fact the entire film, in spite of the slick production and death-defying action, was silly and over the top and not even remotely realistic. Besides, I couldn't figure out whether Jolie’s character was a good guy or a bad guy. Nonetheless, with women like Salt, you don't need superheroes.

Salt reminded me of another technically-brilliant film with a more or less similar theme: the Mission: Impossible series, especially Ghost Protocol (2011), which I saw with some disbelief last week.

I have seen only three films of Angelina Jolie including the equally silly Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005) and The Tourist (2010), the latter mainly for Johnny Depp, and heard her voice in two others, Shark Tale (2004) and the Kung Fu Panda films. I watched Salt on cable because nothing worthwhile was going on. I didn’t realise it would be as insipid as the rest of the fare going on at the time.

14 comments:

  1. Certainly not my favorite actress. Have to wonder why she shoots so low in her choices of films.

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    1. Patti, not my favourite either. Barring the films mentioned above I don't know any of her other films with the exception of LARA CROFT which I haven't seen. .

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    1. Bill, that pretty much sums it up. I could have skipped the film but I was in the mood to watch something.

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  3. I actually liked Mr. And Mrs smith. Over the top certainly and unrealistic but pretty funny. I agree the events in Salt were impossible to imagine realistically but I don't watch those kidns of movies with any concern for realism. I just wanna see things blow up cool. :)

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    1. Charles, agreed, films like SALT should be taken with a pinch of salt. The film may not be realistic but it is entertaining in its own way. If I want to see things really blow up, I watch Arnold Schwarzenegger's movies. They are great fun.

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  4. I think it's one to avoid after reading this review. I can't recall seeing her in too much to be honest - Lara Croft and I'm struggling after that.
    I think her dad's much more watchable.

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    1. Col, I didn't mean to put you off. Who knows, you might like the film where I didn't. I haven't seen LARA CROFT though they keep showing it on cable TV nearly every month. I prefer Jon Voight in a villainous role though I don't recall seeing him otherwise except for the NATIONAL TREASURE series. He has a look that suggests more evil than good.

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    2. HOLES and DELIVERANCE would be my favourites, the first is a kid's film - I think I loved it more than my children did!

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    3. Col, thanks for mentioning these two films—I haven't seen either but I liked the synopsis of both, especially HOLES, as I love watching children's films. I also remember Voight in THE CHAMP whose story has often reminded me of Matt Murdock/Daredevil, of sons who hero-worship their "boxer" dads.

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  5. I agree completely with you on this one Prashant - just too silly without enough wit or charm to make up for it (LAST GOOD KISS does much better for instance,in my view). Not mad about Jolie either, though I liked her in GIRL, INTERRUPTED and THE CHANGELING.

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    1. Sergio, the rest of the family thought it was silly too. Besides, I'm indifferent to Jolie as an actor which explains why I haven't seen INTERRUPTED and THE CHANGELING or most of her films.

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  6. SALT (and MR. AND MRS. SMITH) much better films than, say, CASINO ROYALE...which is almost a pity, since I wanted to like the new Bonds. There's a certain sadness in most of Jolie's characters, which helps make these films a little more than they might be (but they are still simply bubblegum). WANTED, on the other hand, is the kind of tripe I can't stand at all, even worse as a comic-book film than Christopher Nolan's Batman clumps.

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    1. Todd, that is an interesting view on Jolie's characters. I found them rather cold though one can always blame her roles for it. I haven't seen WANTED but I'll accept your verdict and stay away. Frankly, I didn't care much for Nolan's BATMAN films either. They were a shade too dark for me.

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