I was really excited to go see Angelina Jolie's new espionage thriller, Salt, probably just as much for the intriguing woman herself as the sleeper agent plot of the movie. However even though it starts off as an exciting, action-packed romp, it soon descends into the realms of the unbelievable and predictability.
SPOILER WARNING: Don't read any further unless you want to know major plot spoilers that may spoil your enjoyment of the movie!
Probably my biggest problem with this movie was the bad casting of one main character. Although he's a great actor, has Liev Schreiber been in any movie as anything other than a bad guy, from the Scream franchise to Wolverine's arch-nemesis Sabretooth (aside from wearing a dress as Vilma in Taking Woodstock)? So from the first moment I saw him I knew that he was going to be a Russian mole, it just seemed obvious.
I do like the fact that in this day and age the film studios can produce an action movie with a major female Hollywood star. I'd read somewhere that the role of CIA Agent Salt was originally intended for a lead male actor, but it works much better for a female lead, as the emotional aspect makes more sense (up to a point at least).
I also feel it wasn't an exploitative role and the sexy Angelina Jolie wasn't forced to go nude just for titillation's sake.
Two thirds of the way through the movie and certainly by the end I got the impression that this was character was being groomed to be a female spy franchise along the line of The Bourne Trilogy of movies. It did feel too much like an introductory origin story, with little else meat on the bones.
Also another thing that irked me was for a master spy, when Evelyn Salt goes undercover she dyes her hair black, but it's still pretty much the same style as the blonde version. It's not that much of a disguise and maybe a few curls wouldn't have gone amiss to fool the Secret Service?
And finally her motivation after one major death in particular didn't really seem to make sense anymore, so that was all a bit confusing.
I give Salt three *** stars, but my cinema companions loved it much more than me, so what do I know?
Maybe I'll like it more when I see it on DVD, or maybe because I've watched TV shows like the wonderfully twisty-turney Alias before, I'll never quite get it.
Let's hope there are some more good movies to come in 2010...