Wednesday, August 4, 2010

This Summer, Angelina Jolie is...Salt. Lol!

(spoilers, guys)

Tonight I had the great pleasure of watching one of summer's best comedies, Salt, with Angelina Jolie (Gone in 60 Seconds, Cyborg 2) in the starring role of this enduring farce of the spy genre. Not since Leslie Neilsen has an actor turned in such a pitch-perfect role in this oeuvre. Jolie takes a risky step in her career, tackling the comedy world with a verve she hasn't mustered since 2002's Life or Something Like it (and the blonde hair too!).

The story kicks off with a Russian defector approaching Salt, and her partner Winter (the always-sexy Liev Schreiber), and breaking the news that Salt is a known Russian spy (!), trained from childhood to become a sleeper agent in the CIA! Agent Peabody (the also-sexy Chiwetel Ejiofor) tries to pursue her, but she makes her escape from a locked interrogation room while no one is watching, and heads to New York City to assassinate the visiting Russian President! Because that is a thing that a Russian spy would definitely do.

For the next act or so, Salt does so much stuff! She rides on the tops of trucks that are speeding down the highway, uses a maxi pad to dress a bullet wound, shoots a church pipe organ during the Vice President's funeral (what?), injects spider venom into a bullet to make it a paralytic bullet, gets arrested, and then escapes the police car she is being transported in! Wanna know how she does that? She (while handcuffed) tazes the driver of the car, and then re-tazes him every time she wants his foot to slam on the gas pedal. Laugh a minute, folks.

She ends up getting herself to the barge where all the bigshot Russian spies hang out, wearing her fur hat and poncho ensemble from Beyond Borders. There she sees that the Russians, who all have really thick Russian accents for some reason despite having been raised speaking American English so as to blend in perfectly as Americans, just like Salt, who doesn't have a Russian accent at all, have kidnapped her fake German husband who she married because the CIA told her to but she ended up loving him anyway even though he kind of looks like a poor man's Peter Sarsgaard bred with a poor man's James McAvoy, and also with a chin beard, and then the Russians kill him to test Salt's allegiance. Because she might like, assassinate a Head of State because they told her to but then totally flip her shit when her arachnologist (sure) husband dies. And then they're all holding glasses of vodka all of a sudden even though they were just standing there holding guns like a second ago? Na zdorovje!

So then that part of the movie is over, and we move on to the next one, because why not? Salt is now reunited with another Russian-child-spy with a thick Russian accent, even though he was raised to be passable as an American, but has been stationed in the Czech Republic, so maybe he's supposed to be Czech? But he doesn't have a Czech accent, it's definitely Russian. Anyway. And they totally spent like, all this time and money to create a flashback exposition scene for Salt to remember that one time she knew a kid with a scar on his face, and this dude has one too!

Anyway so they have to break into the bunker that's eight floors underneath the White House, in disguise as Czech NATO envoys, to steal the Chamber of Secrets Book of Secrets assassinate the US President and also deploy nuclear weapons to the middle east, enraging the Muslim world who would then destroy America (only the spies of Soviet Russia, still upset about the Cold War, could come up with such a convenient, efficient plan). Now some of you may know that the title role of this movie was originally written for Tom Cruise, but was recast when his career and likability jumped the couch. In a subtle wink to this, Salt has to dress up as a man! But don't worry, it's a really convincing disguise (actual still from the set of the film Salt). So, if you ever wanted to see Angelina Jolie, in drag, parkour her way down an elevator shaft, this is your moment. [An associate suggests that the reason her character has to dress as a man for this scene is because the only parkour double they could find wasn't passable as a woman.]

So now a bunch of stuff happens and the President is like "we need to arm the nukes" because [pick any line of dialogue from Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb], and then OMG! (major spoilers) Winter is actually the bad guy! Remember him? The CIA guy from the beginning who has absolutely no purpose being in the bunker with the President because he's CIA, not Secret Service, which the movie reminds us of twice? Yeah so he kills lots of people and then tries to send the nukes but while that program or whatever is loading on the President's nukes-laptop, Salt is like 'whoa I never knew you were also a Russian-child-spy sent to become a double agent in the CIA,' and Winter literally says, "My loneliness was my only friend." Oh man. In Soviet Russia, dialogue writes you! So they Russian at each other for a while, and then they fight, because maybe Angelina Jolie is a good guy? It's really unclear who she's working for at this point, if anyone. My guess is Germany. Or North Korea. Oh, did I mention that the movie opens with Salt being tortured in a NoKo prison for some reason? It does.

So I guess then Salt gets arrested, but she is given the world's longest handcuffs, so she jumps off a balcony, using Winter's neck as a fulcrum of sorts, and choking him to death, miraculously doing so without dislocating her shoulders. Peabody is back, and they're in a helicopter now, and Salt kinda wryly hints that maybe she's a good guy, after all, so then he detaches her handcuffs from the helicopter and helps her jump out of the helicopter to the safe waters of the Potomac River, in winter, many thousands of feet below. Because surely that wouldn't kill her. Also her dude wig has stayed on this entire time, which is great. And then the movie ends.

In conclusion, lol, and also, stay tuned for Salt 2: Die Saltier, coming in 2013, and Salt 3: The Saltening, also coming in 2013.


Jamie said...

So great. Thanks for reminding us of many other excellent Angelina Jolie movies.

Bryan said...

It's still really dumb and terrible, of course, but you really didn't know if she was still with the Russians or not? Even though you knew about the spider poison? That just seems impossible. If there was ever any doubt about her allegiance, that White House infiltration might have had some kind of suspense to it. If even it as accidental.

Kat said...

Bryan, I basically bought her as a Russian spy until she killed Orlov. Then I thought she was actually a triple agent back with the US. But then I thought maybe she was anti-US. But then I figured she's not anti-US, but I still can't tell who she's supposed to be pro-? I didn't get the spider poison thing until they revealed that. Can we just lol at her dude costume?

Bryan said...

I feel like if it really kept people guessing like that, then it kind of succeeded. When Czech scarface said they were going to kill the President, I said to my friend it might have been good for the movie if there was any chance her following through on that. I didn't even consider that perhaps he thought there was.

But I'd much rather laugh at Orlov's oversight that after all the work he put in training these kids, his trigger to activate them was turn himself over to the Americans and talk to them in an interrogation room. He really should have made it easier on everyone and had them meet in a coffeeshop or something.