As The Expendables puffs and wheezes its way onto UK screens, Salt launches itself to the top of this summer's action pile.
As The Expendables puffs and wheezes its way onto UK screens, Salt launches itself to the top of this summer's action pile, with Jolie proving she can hold her own when it comes to playing tough with the big boys.
She plays Evelyn Salt, a high-ranking CIA operative who's accused of working undercover as a Soviet spy. With assassination plots and cries of treason in the air, Salt hits the road and The Agency's top chiefs do what they do best in a state of national security: panic.
From here Salt doesn't hold back. Like all good action films, it straps you in and asks you to simply enjoy the ride. And that's exactly what you'll do. For the most part, at least. Despite its narrative flaws, the film's big reveal is shrewdly dealt very early on, meaning you'll be willing to invest in the inevitable double bluff out of sheer curiosity alone – even if you see it coming a mile off.
The Cold War rhetoric might feel painfully archaic (Lee Harvey Oswald is always good for a bit of context), but if there’s one thing US audiences love, it’s a cinematic reinstatement of 'Us vs. Them' politics. Still, with Russian spies back on the front pages this year, Salt, rather fortuitously, is somewhat timely.
The same action sequences and geo-political subtexts have been recycled to greater effect elsewhere, but few contemporary action films have found the balance between spectacle and storyline with as much ease as Salt.
Is this the final step in Jolie's transformation into an all-out action heroine?
At long last: a summer action flick actually worth its salt.
By no means a classic, but nonetheless a job well done.