She’s been voted one of the world’s most attractive women countless times, and she’s back in yet another action movie: Salt. Angelina Jolie’s repertoire of previous roles suggests that she would be all too perfect for this gun brandishing, explosive planting, truck leaping character. Tom Cruise was originally cast for this movie, but having bailed on the producers; Jolie took his place. She rises to the challenge, as ever, by bringing sex appeal to even the most intense fight scenes – including torture at the beginning of the movie – after which she resembles a human punch bag, and going undercover as a man. On both occasions she manages to retain her sex appeal, and how she does so is completely beyond me.
Jolie’s character, Evelyn Salt, is having a regular day (in the life of a CIA agent that is), until a Russian defector outs her as a Russian agent working against the American government. Inevitably, Salt flees and the audience is left questioning whether or not she is innocent. Her colleagues, Liev Schreiber as Ted Winter and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Peabody, seem to believe that she is guilty and so Salt remains on the run for the remainder of the film.
The plot thickens as more questions concerning her true identity come into play, but infuriatingly we are allowed no insight into what is going on inside her head. Whilst the aim of this is to increase the mystery of her character, it in fact just detaches us from her and makes it difficult to feel any empathy or really take sides until much later on in the film. Echoes of Bourne and Bond can be found throughout the movie but the storyline is nowhere near as thrilling as was most probably originally intended.
The back story is fairly complex, involving the installation of Russians in America from an early age, but the motives of the dramatic occurrences during the film are a little questionable. Whilst it is sufficiently action packed and everyone loves a good bit of Jolie and the idea of Russian baddies, the movie lacks any real tension and is not left resolved. This is perhaps the real fault of the movie; the ending is entirely dissatisfying and leaves scope for a sequel – a sequel I’m not sure I’ll feel at all compelled to see. The director, Phillip Noyce, would have been better off leaving it as a satisfactory action movie that allows us to see Jolie do what she does best, beefed up with some Russian spy business in between, instead of implying that Salt is the first of more to come.