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Movies

‘Salt’ delivers fast-paced action movie, short for its genre

Angelina Jolie stars in ‘Salt’, a fast-paced action movie about a manufactured Russian spy, who lives as a CIA agent in the United States. This movie review might be coming a little late for the movies release date a long time ago, but it’s necessary.

Andrew Schwartz | SMPSP, 2010 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.

Jolie plays Evelyn Salt, who becomes a Russian spy by going to a Russian “training camp” to create spies in the mid-to-late 1980s. The first 15 minutes of the movie, the audience is held in suspense until a man named Orlov is brought into the CIA and tells a story about Evelyn Salt’s childhood.

Herself, Salt, is a convincing spy, who as the movie progresses the audience finds out truly what she is made of, literally inside (in her heart) and out (in her skill).

The movie is fast-paced, as action starts from the very beginning of the movie, kicking off at a North Korea prison camp, where Salt is being held. All we see from this encounter is Jolie, as Salt, pleading to the Koreans that she is “not who you think I am.” From this point on, the action never seems to stop except for the beginning scenes of the movie when the writers have to set up the story line; this is to be expected.

Throughout the movie, Jolie is being chased by the very people she works for, the CIA and other respective departments. They chase Jolie because they fear, as Orlov told in his story, that she plans on assassinating the President of the United States. As the movie progresses, the audience is held at the edge of their seat as they want to find out if she’s actually going to do it.

The movie is written well, as it keeps people guessing as to which side she is really on. At times, she looks stone cold Russian; however, she also shows glimpses of being more for the United States, as she has lived practically all of her life in the U.S. after being trained as a young girl in Russia.

Until the very end, the audience is kept guessing which side she is on; at the end we find out which side she is really for. I wont spoil the end for you.

Jolie plays a great role, harnessing a little of her Tomb Raider days, as well as some of her other action movies (this includes ‘Mr. and Mrs. Smith).

What I liked about this movie is that unlike her earlier movies, Jolie comes off as a serious actor, not using her sex appeal to attract the audience. Like some of her most recent movies, ones that have been praised, I was more into her character than anything else.

Jolie carries this movie alone because some of her supporting actors don’t quite come through; however, this might be a fault of the the way the movie was written.

Throughout the whole movie, we know very little about the three people we are supposed to know about. Ted Winter, played by Liev Schreiber; Peabody, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor; and Orlov, played by Daniel Olbrychski (did you choke up on those actors’ names like I did?) are seemingly invisible characters.

My creative writing teacher would complain endlessly about this because he hates 2-D characters.

However, those three are not as strong of actors. I would have liked to know more about each. Schreiber’s character is one that you should question after the movie, but you don’t start really looking into him until the end – for a reason I wont tell.

Orlov plays an important role in the beginning of the movie, but once he escapes the CIA building, he seems to disappear and become a character, who was just inserted into the movie to help move the story along. His part was important, but he doesn’t do much in the grand scheme of things. The movie makes me think that he was just a purpose character because after telling his story about Salt, he disappears from the movie until he (SPOILER ALERT) is ultimately killed off in the middle of movie, as the movie progresses to the next step.

You don’t really need to know much about Ejiofor’s character, Peabody, besides the fact that he is an aggressive agent that doesn’t seem to trust many people until the very end. The movie never explains exactly what department Peabody works for – at least my mom and I never caught it – but he doesn’t seem to trust CIA agents Winter or Salt, especially Salt after Orlov tells the story.

Once Orlov plays his most important part in the movie, the film moves along very well and is actually very good and entertaining.

I was surprised that there wasn’t more storyline to the movie that I had to more closely follow. Because of the type of the movie it was, I guess I just expected more; however, I’m not upset about it. The movie is easy to follow along with. Even if you get up from your seat to get popcorn, I don’t think you will miss much (in an aspect of being confused when you come back); but that can be good.

By my advice, though, don’t get up in the middle of the movie – approximately from the 30-minute mark to the 1-hour mark; but those are approximations. You will know when is a good time to get up and go to the bathroom.

Ultimately, I really enjoyed the movie because it was easy to follow and full of action-packed entertainment. It’s not a downer, even though when I rented it I was ready for a serious movie. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a serious movie, but it’s no ‘Inception’. Jolie plays a terrific character, and the other characters, although we should have known more about them, play there own parts that make the movie good. (It’s worth noting that I don’t think we could have known more about Ted Winter without knowing his secret … yes, he has a secret. The movie is a little on the short side for that kind of genre, at 1:35 or so, plus credits; however, it works for this movie.

Not to mention the ending keeps the movie open for having a second installment down the road. According to the Los Angeles Times, the movie will have a second film. We don’t know more than that yet, and you can certainly consider that just a rumor.

One other interesting thing I noticed in the movie was that the president was caucasian, whereas in most movies the president is often portrayed more accurately. For example, with Barack Obama in office, I expected the president to be black. But that note is neither here nor there. It doesn’t effect my final ratings (out of five stars).

Buy or rent? Buy it.

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