Sony Pictures Home Entertainment was kind enough to release a whole bunch of duo-packs that include some sweet movies. Fans of Angelina Jolie for example can rejoice with Wanted and Salt, two of her best movies. Let’s face it… she’s seen her share of crappy movies (Tomb Raider? Gone In Sixty Seconds? Taking Lives?) so it could’ve been a lot worse.
“Wanted” is the adaptation of J.G. Jones and Mark Millar’s comic, which explains why it’s so over the top yet fun. It all kicks off when anonymous office drone Wesley Gibson (played by James McAvoy) get scooped up and beaten down by a bunch of ruthless assasins. One of them is Fox (Angelina Jolie) and she explains to Gibson that his father was a ruthless assassin who was killed in a war that involves a secret fraternity of weavers. And ruthless assassins. They then start training him so that he too will be… yes, a ruthless assassin.
It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, not even when Morgan Freeman (who plays the fraternity’s leader) explains it but that’s okay. The pace is set so fast by director Timur Bekmambetov that you don’t really have a lot of time to think about things anyway. There are car chases, shootouts, crashing trains,… leaving little room for real dialogues. But who needs dialogues when you have one-liners, right? Anyway, it’s extremely silly but somehow this mash-up of The Matrix, Fight Club and teenage fantasies about being a hero work and make “Wanted” one helluva ride with the right amount of winks telling us that we don’t need to take this seriously.
“Salt” is a little less over the top compared to “Wanted” but that’s not saying much seeing as pretty much every single movie is less over the top. Here Jolie is Evelyn Salt, a Russian sleeper-spy who works for the CIA. As a kid she got dropped off at a monastery in Siberia where she was trained by a kind of Soviet Fu Manchu. When a defector named Orlov (Daniel Olbrychski) turns himself in to the CIA. and fingers Salt as one of the spies, that’s when the shit hits the fan. We see Salt weaving her way through buildings she’s never been in, jumping on moving trucks, beating the shit out of guys twice her size, blowing a hole in the floor of a church to kill the Russian president and harvesting poison from a giant spider. All in a day’s work I guess.
I can just see some guy in Hollywood going ‘we should make the Bourne movies again but with a female lead’… and that’s what they did. Well, kinda. Director Phillip Noyce does a decent enough job of telling the story with some nice action sequences but whereas you actually cared about Bourne’s well-being, Jolie’s character is so icy that it’s hard to root for her. It makes “Salt” an entertaining yet impersonal action thriller.