So what to do when you have a bang up cold war story, but the good old USSR has been dead for lo these many years? Well, you just add one part Manchurian Candidate, one part Bourne Identity, and one part The Boys From Brazil. Viola! Salt is a nice spy story where the USSR wants to rise from the ashes and a sleeper agent has been waiting thirty years to strike, and by the way-that sleeper agent is not only super human but a hottie as well.
Make no mistake, Salt is just a Star Vehicle for Angelina Jolie. Not that’s there anything wrong with that. Just as Knight and Day featured an indestructible Tom Cruise, Salt features an indestructible Angelina Jolie. But I happen to be one of a handful of people who actually liked Knight and Day, and so I pretty much like Salt as well.
There were a couple of moments in Salt where it looked like something unexpected was going to happen-a few brief tense moments when it looked like Angelina Jolie was going to be the bad guy. But these tense moments are just like the tense moments in Mr and Mrs Smith where it looked like justice might prevail and the hitman couple might die in a blaze of glory-well, they just didn’t. And so it is with Salt, there are hints that something real might happen, but nothing real ever does. Where Knight and Day was pure flight of fancy, Salt wants to pretend that it more than it is.
Salt is the standard issue bullet proof secret agent who has been betrayed by her own people. I think it was a bit over the top to have the actor from the recent remake of The Manchurian Candidate star in such a similar film. But then Salt is all about being over the top.
Evelyn Salt (Jolie) is a CIA agent who’s accused of working for the bad guys and possibly being involved in a plot to assassinate the Russian president. She bolts from HQ, claiming she’s been wrongly accused, to check on her scientist hubby (August Diehl). Meanwhile, her CIA boss (Liev Schreiber) and a counter-intelligence operative (Chiwetel Ejiofor) give chase. Salt proceeds to do the usual impossible actions of a super agent on the run, from climbing the side of a building to hopping from car to car at freeway speeds to walking unscathed into the most highly guarded places in America.
Salt was fun, in a I’ve-Seen-This-Film before sort of way.