Salt proves what many suspect.
Angelina Jolie has more testosterone than the average American male.
That also means Jolie doesn’t have to act.
Action actors just put on the “face.” It’s that internal, knowing calm.
Lines aren’t important — and, frankly, she doesn’t deliver them that well anyway — and the circumstances of whatever character they’re playing don’t matter. The face is what matters, and it is always the same.
In Jolie’s case, the hypnotic eyes reflect cool, knowing, calm. Not much else.
While Jolie has displayed serious acting chops here and there, her M/O these days is action thrillers which brings us back to the face. She puts it on and you really do believe she can kill in an instant and that her lithe, trim body is a lethal weapon.
In its own peculiar way, that is good acting.
Jolie is CIA agent Evelyn Salt, who is accused of being a Russian spy and part of the mythical KA-12 program. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union trained agents and sent them to the U.S. by the hundreds with the goal of destroying the nation.
Once outed, Salt is forced to go on the run to prove her innocence.
Questions quickly come. Among them: is she really a bad guy or a good guy pretending to be bad and how does the Korean torture scene at the beginning fit?
Caring about the questions is optional, and there isn’t a lot of time to consider them anyway. On the run means non-stop car chases, on-foot chases, plenty of weapons play, hand-to-hand combat, bombs, explosions and all kinds of creative chaos done at blinding speed. No fight involving Jolie and an opponent has any less than a dozen edits.
Pursuit is from the always-fascinating Liev Schreiber (X-Men: Wolverine) and Chiwetel Elijofor (2012). They do the Yin and Yang thing. One supports her. The other wants her dead.
Note about Schreiber: someone please give this guy a great script and a vehicle to really show off his incredible talent. He’s so wasted here and in flicks such as Wolverine.
Salt is not rocket science. It is a straight-ahead, predictable political action thriller made workable because of Jolie’s “face” and the great director Phillip Noyce (Patriot Games).
In spite of a terrible script jammed with silly dialogue and packed with stunts that require a lot of suspension of disbelief, Noyce knows how to keep a movie moving and turn crap such as this into something at least semi-entertaining.
Mr. Movie rating: 3 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes, violence. It opens Friday, July 23 at the Carmike 12 and at the Fairchild Cinemas 12.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.