Saturday, July 24, 2010

Review: Salt

Phillip Noyce's Salt is a prompt, agile and outlandish spy thriller, a standard order helping of high-stakes espionage and wrong-man confusion served up with a generous portion of ludicrousness.

A craftsman of mostly solid-to-commendable adult entertainments throughout the late 80's and early 90's (Dead Calm, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger), Noyce attempts to reclaim the post-Cold War hysteria of his prime with Salt, but the result is slick and capable absurdity.

Noyce knows how to construct and compose a decent action set-piece and he knows he has a worthy screen presence and star in the alluring Angelina Jolie, but nothing here - including James Newton Howard's aggressive-rock score or the dry supporting turns from Liev Schreiber and Chiwetel Ejiofor deviate enough from formula to warrant praise.

In fact, the only semblance of genre transgression comes in the senseless audacity of Kurt Wimmer and Brian Helgeland's no-holds-barred script of agency dealings, highway chases and Russian invasions. And as Salt progresses, so does its penchant for the inane - it moves like a breeze, but it sure is silly. [C-]

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