GENRE: Cold War-esque spy thriller.
THE PITCH: CIA officer, Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie) led a modest yet content life until a mysterious man, Orlov (Daniel Olbrychski) informs the agency of a plot to assassinate the Russian President and accuses Salt of being a Russian sleeper agent who will execute the mission. Not sure where to turn, agent Salt goes on the lam in a frantic effort to save her husband and punish the group responsible for unraveling her picturesque life.
MONEY SHOTS: Salt eludes the Feds barefoot through the streets of D.C. After being cornered by her boss, Ted Winter (Liev Schreiber) and counter-intelligence spook Peabody (Chiwetel Ejiofor), she jumps from a bridge onto a moving truck which sets off a 15-minute chase on a busy highway to catch up with her as Salt leaps from vehicle to vehicle making her getaway.
BEST LINES: Orlov explains to Salt that he's dying from cancer and that's why he's chosen to defect and reveal the assassination plot. Salt peers unmoved at him and replies, "Are you selling secrets for chemo or are you afraid of dying." There's a few more good lines throughout but unfortunately, they're plot spoilers.
HE'S A WHAT? Talk about an obscure profession, here's one you don't see everyday. Salt's husband, Mike Krause (August Diehl) is an arachnologist that's someone according the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is a person who specializes in the study of spiders and other arachnids. Who knew?
PRODUCT PLACEMENT: In a flashback sequence explaining the Russian sleeper program KA-12, it's revealed that the children learn English before they master Russian, and are only exposed to American culture wherein they show a group of kids watching episodes of The Brady Bunch. As the CIA hustles get its act together to not only secure Salt, but also alert the Secret Service and the White House of the impending assassination attempt, you notice they're keeping the flow of communication going all thanks to Cisco.
BODY COUNT: Determined to find her husband, Salt has no problem putting some serious foot-to-ass to anyone who stands in her way. Throughout the movie, in hand-to-hand combat, she leaves a total of 31 bodies of various states and allegiances in her wake. Salt also takes down an entire team of "bad guys" in one scene with some grenades, but that number is impossible to count. Since you can't have a convincing bad guy if he doesn't kill anyone, there were only 12 people killed by people other than agent Salt.
CONSPIRACY THEORY: For you skeptics out there, you'll either nod or nay when they explain that Lee Harvey Oswald was actually a Russian sleeper agent who replaced the original Oswald years prior to the act of assassinating President John F. Kennedy.
FACE TIME: You can't have a Jolie film without a couple of tight shots of those famous eyes and lips. I counted 14 close-ups featuring her signature scowls, smiles and pouts.
FLESH FACTOR: Jolie yet again opts not to show the goods, but there are two scenes of Salt in her panties.
BOTTOM LINE: Nothing warms you up like a good Cold War-inspired movie. Director Phillip Noyce's return to the spy thriller genre is chock full of bold action and often predictable twists that envelope the cast of characters in this exciting chess game between superpowers. Its no surprise to see the how well the collaboration of Noyce and Jolie worked in Salt, the two pulled of the same type of tensely charged thriller more than 10 years ago with The Bone Collector.
Jolie's femme fatale persona perfectly masks her intentions behind those infamous eyes and makes it difficult to gauge at times if she's an agent, a double-agent or possibly - dare I say, a triple-agent. But regardless of her allegiance, she pulls it off with unmistakable ease and finesse. Ripe with gritty fights and chases, Salt is the perfect complement for movie night.
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