Last time I reviewed a film that featured the name Kurt Wimmer as screenwriter it was for the awful Law Abiding Citizen. I made mention that he’s spent way too much time watching other people’s movies. History seems to be repeating itself now with another generic action rip-off, Salt. This time dragging along seasoned action/thriller director Phillip Noyce (The Bone Collector, The Saint, Clear and Present Danger, Sliver, Patriot Games, Dead Calm) we get a sense that even he has seen one too many movies to come up with anything original.
Ripping off in overload we see scenes stolen directly from everything including The Manchurian Candidate remake to The Fugitive, The Matrix Reloaded, and the Bourne trilogy. All this wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t so blatant. And the script isn’t completely to blame when Noyce even uses a lot of the same camera angles and exact situations from the films he’s chosen to rip off. But if by the end of the movie you don’t expect to find U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones) walking into the middle of the final shot then you’re probably the film’s key demographic.
The premise is simple enough: We first meet Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie) repeatedly denying being a spy while being interrogated in North Korea with a title card announcing this is “Two Years Ago.” She is released back into U.S. custody as part of a trade and taken home to where we learn she really is a C.I.A. operative posing as an employee of Rink Petroleum. While Salt may just want to learn how to fold a sexy dinner napkin for her anniversary, a walk-in Russian defector has just arrived and is in need of interrogation.
Salt agrees before she goes home but not before all hell breaks loose as defector Orlov (Daniel Olbrychski) informs her that a Russian mole will be attempting to kill the Russian President while he is attending the funeral of the U.S. Vice President. Orlov also informs Salt, along with fellow agents Peabody (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Ted Winter (Liev Schreiber) listening in, that Salt is the Russian mole. To clear her innocence she goes on the lam using all her superpowers, err… skills, to elude capture and try to clear her name and find her gone-missing husband, arachnologist Mike (August Diehl).