Review: Salt (2010)

Note: This post contains a portion of a review originally written for CaryCitizen.  To read the full review, click here.

Call me naïve, but after last week’s release of the tremendously inventive Inception, I was feeling optimistic.  I was ready to believe that Hollywood really could make big-budget action films that had as much brains as they had bullets, and that these films could be produced consistently.  This week’s release of Salt finds Angelina Jolie kicking butt and taking names – what could go wrong?

A lot, it turns out.  Enough so that instead of being an over-the-top action romp, Salt is actually just the same mediocre fluff we’ve been getting at multiplexes for most of the year.  It succeeds at delivering some fun action set pieces, but if you’re looking for memorable characters or a plot that’s halfway original, look somewhere else.

Salt stars Angelina Jolie as Evelyn Salt, a CIA agent forced to go on the run when a Russian defector claims she’s a spy sent to kill the Russian president.  This leaves fellow agents Winter and Peabody (Liev Schreiber and Chiweter Ejiofor, respectively, both of whom deserve meatier roles than this) frantically attempting to track her down and discover whether or not she’s on their side.  It’s a campy B-movie plot with a nine-figure budget behind it, as if narrative flaws can be fixed by throwing money at them.

Jolie kicks, leaps, and kills her way through every obstacle in her path.  It might be exciting if we hadn’t already seen her do the same thing in far more entertaining fare like Mr. and Mrs. Smith, or even Wanted.  She’s a talented actress, and deserves to be offered roles that have more depth than “sexy assassin.”  Thankfully, Salt decides to treat her less like Lara Croft and more like Ripley from Alien, emphasizing her determination and strength over sex appeal.  If she happens to look good while kicking ass, that’s just an added bonus.

Read the full review at CaryCitizen.