In Salt, Jolie plays a CIA officer who's accused by a defector of being a Russian spy, planted in the US since childhood as part of an elaborate Soviet-era programme to infiltrate and subvert its Cold War enemy. When she goes on the run, guilt is confirmed in the eyes of her colleagues (Schreiber, Ejiofor), but you can bet that all is not as it seems.
Find out what we thought of the film after the jump...
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Daniel Olbrychski
Director: Phillip Noyce
Running time: 100 minutes
Trailer: Watch it here
The plot: While most A-list Hollywood actresses built their career in romantic comedies, Angelina Jolie has taken a different route to the top: action roles that showcase her peerless sex appeal. You wouldn't pay to see her trade funnies with Hugh Grant, but there's no one who looks better running with a gun. Her status as a credible action star may be judged by the fact that Salt was originally developed as a vehicle for Tom Cruise, who exited over concerns it was too similar to his Mission: Impossible film series. Exit Edwin Salt, enter Evelyn Salt, a CIA officer who's accused by a defector of being a Russian spy, planted in the US since childhood as part of an elaborate Soviet-era programme to infiltrate and subvert its Cold War enemy. When she goes on the run, guilt is confirmed in the eyes of her colleagues (Schreiber, Ejiofor), but you can bet that all is not as it seems.
What's right with it? While the Tomb Raider movies boasted plots every bit as flimsy as the original videogame, and both Mr & Mrs Smith and Wanted felt essentially hollow, Salt really is a proper spy thriller, directed with style and energy by Phillip Noyce (Patriot Games). It also benefits from a series of truly ingenious escapes, with the resourceful, energetic Evelyn outwitting and outrunning her pursuers in a virtual non-stop chase. Schreiber, increasingly one of our best supporting actors, delivers another fine turn as Salt's boss.
What's wrong with it? Implausibility goes with the territory in Hollywood thrillers, but Salt stretches credulity too far. It moves so quickly, you're carried along by the sheer momentum of it, but your enjoyment will take a knock when the credits roll, and you start to reflect on the series of events you've just witnessed. Suffice to say that the villain has masterminded a plot that required them to possess supernatural levels of prophecy.
Verdict: A kick-ass spy with a mysterious past: Evelyn Salt is a role for which Angelina Jolie was clearly invented. Ludicrous good fun, and quite possibly the start of a franchise that could rival Jason Bourne for success, if not for credibility.
Rating: 7 out of 10