Starring: Angelina Jolie, Live Schreiber, Chiwetel Ekiofor, August Diehl
Directed by: Phillip Noyce
Written by: Kurt Wimmer
Runtime: 100 Minutes
Release Date: 12/21/2010
'Salt' begins “two years ago” with our main character being tortured inside a North Korean prison for being a spy which she denies profusely and is subsequently released in a prisoner swap. Two years later, we find that Evelyn Salt is indeed a highly respected agent within the Central Intelligence Agency who is held in the highest regards by her co-workers and superiors. Upon departure from their headquarters, whose store front appearance is that of a large petroleum company, Salt and her boss Ted (Schreiber) are called back to interrogate a Russian spy named Vassily Orlov. It seems that Orlov is dying of cancer and has some information that he would like to turn over to the CIA. His claim is that the CIA has another Russian spy working within the agency that will attempt to assassinate the Russian President when he arrives to attend the funeral of the recently deceased Vice President of the United States. The spy’s name? Evelyn Salt. Now, with no options left, Salt goes on the run from the CIA as she tries desperately to find her husband Mike (Diehl) who has gone missing and get to the bottom of this conspiracy and clear her name before becoming the next target for assassination.
I ended up seeing 'Salt' in theaters over the summer and will say that it was better than I expected however; my expectations were not that high to begin with. 'Salt' models itself after spy films such as the Bourne series, James Bond and the Jack Ryan series however; it is important to mention that this is much more of an action oriented film than the latter of the three which is a little odd considering that the director, Phillip Noyce, also directed Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. I do think that the filmmakers were hoping that the story would come across a little more complex than it actually did as there was a sort of “is she or isn’t she” feel to it, but there really was little doubt the whole time. One thing that I think has been overlooked by in lot of reviews I have read is that I personally felt that ‘Salt’ wasn’t setting out to be grounded in any type of reality. It really came across to me as a Brosnan era James Bond type of spy/action movie and less of an actual spy/thriller type of film.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=5517[/img]The plot isn't anything too deep, but it is still more than enough to keep you interested in what is happening on the screen. Jolie did a great job in her portrayal of Salt as the audience gets to experience her transformation as Salt goes from a deeply caring wife to a cold and calculating woman out for vengeance. The action sequences were absolutely outstanding even though they were a bit over the top. Car chases, gunfights, jumping from moving vehicle to moving vehicle and more; ‘Salt’ delivers on the action in a major way. There were some plot holes but nothing that made me write-off the whole movie in the least. Out of the entire cast, I will have to vote Schrieber to be my favorite as I think he did a great job portraying Salt’s superior Ted Winter and Ejiofor did an excellent job of Salt’s pursuer Peabody, though I do feel his character was a bit underused in the film. Overall, the major cast members were solid and played their parts convincingly.
Phillip Noyce has directed some really solid thrillers in the past such as the before mentioned Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger as well as The Bone Collector, The Saint, and Catch a Fire. I did appreciate that Noyce went with a lot of real stunts as opposed to taking the CGI route. Sure, there is some CGI in the film, but you would be hard pressed to find it. Car crashes are much more magnificent when they use actual cars and leaping from 18-wheeler to 18-wheeler is a lot more exciting when you can clearly tell that there is someone actually risking her life on that screen. With ‘Salt’, Noyce isn’t re-writing the rules or even trying to make the movie something that it isn’t. It is simply an action oriented spy movie and I for one enjoyed it very much.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action
Salt is presented in 1080P MPEG4 AVC high definition goodness with an aspect ratio of 2:40.1 and the results are outstanding. Black levels are deep and infinite with great shadow delineation. The night scenes are even reminiscent of The Dark Knight at times. The color palette that was used was very natural though out the film. Flesh tones are natural looking and hues were spot on throughout the film regardless of location or temperature. Resolution was near perfect and had tons of depth and clarity with no noticeable edge enhancements or discernable noise. ‘Salt’ is truly a top notch transfer without a doubt.
Just as good as the video, the 5.1 DTS-HD-Master Audio codec rocks! The bass is extremely impactful and even borders on the rude and offensive side in a couple of scenes. The surrounds are given a healthy dose of love as chase scenes track furiously through each channel and add tons of excitement to this very aggressive and engaging mix. Dialogue is clear and balanced even through the action scenes. Voices are textured and lively. Liev Schreibers deep voice sounds as if he is in the same room. I was truly impressed with the presentation and don’t remember it sounding as good in theaters.
I was somewhat let down by the lack of a digital copy from Sony, but Best Buy actually had their own offering in the way of the Cinenow subscription service.
Spy Disguise: The Looks of Evelyn Salt
False Identity: Creating A New Reality
The Ultimate Female Action Hero
The Real Agents
The Modern Master of the Political Thriller: Phillip Noyce
Spy Cam: Picture-in-Picture
Trailers: The Tourist, The Green Hornet, Takers, Easy A, Red Hill, Eat Pray Love, The Other Guys, Ticking Clock
BD Live enabled
As I already mentioned, Salt isn’t trying to be groundbreaking or anything remotely close to genre defining. It has shares common ground with Goldeneye and xXx as well as shades of The Bourne movies and Spy Game and that is a good thing. There are also three different versions of the movie on the disc however; I only watched the theatrical version to compare it to what I saw in theaters. The audio and video presentation is top notch and will give your system a healthy workout. I look forward to a couple of repeat viewings and definitely recommend a puchase on this one for fans of the spy/action/adventure genre or those looking for a good action oriented pop-corn movie. Until next time campers, have a good day and in case I don't see ya later, a good afternoon, a good evening, and a good night! :wave: