Salt (2010)

Salt was apparently intended as a Tom Cruise vehicle, so it’s interesting to see what changes are made to accommodate  Jolie as his replacement.

OK it’s relatively interesting. Salt is so scared of being boring that it shoehorns enough plot for a trilogy into an incomprehensible single movie, and ends up being irritating.

Jolie plays the titular  heroine, nothing to do with the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, working as a CIA agent and implicated as a double agent in the first few minutes. So is she really pretending to be aiming to kill the Russian President, or is she pretending to be pretending?  If so, who is in on the plot, and who knows about it?

After 90 minutes of head scratching, it’s hard to figure out who knows what, who betrayed who or even to care too much. Allied to the hyperactive plotting, director Noyce turns every scene into explosive action, again demonstrating the law of diminishing returns.

Jolie has continued to work out to the point where she’s more athletic than beautiful (see also Wanted). There’s a fine supporting cast including Liev Schreiber and Chiwetel Ejiofor, competing for the award of most misspelled actor, and the production values are high as you’d expect.

Salt is far from the worst action movie you’ll see, and at least scores points for never being static; there are a couple of excellent scenes that only serve to remind you that there’s a good movie in here struggling to make itself heard.

Mild Peril Rating: ★★½☆☆

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