Taught-skinned serial adopter Angelina Jolie is riding solo in this lightweight action spaff. After an opening that is dragged up from Die Another Day, sans hovercrafts but very much avec North Koreans, her CIA operative Evelyn Salt is returned from her torturous fate to the bosom of mother America to get back to business as usual. That is until a whiskery Russian defector fingers her as a sleeper spy whose job it is to kill the President of Russia and stir up hostilities between the two dormant nuclear giants.
Salt’s identity crisis and violent tendencies have led to inevitable comparisons with one Jason Bourne, and there’s no doubt that the action is handled with the same efficiency and visceral impact, but there’s less imagination here. You get the traditional ‘jumping off a road bridge onto the top of a moving lorry’, the ol’ ‘climb out of a window and shimmy along a ledge’, and you even get the ‘take off your shoes and then run around barefoot’ made famous by Det. John McClane back in 1988.
Jolie is physically adept and I’m glad that Salt was turned into a female character for the role because there have been plenty of blokey spies in the past. But her performance is a bit too featureless, with a few minor flashbacks thrown in to paste the tiniest bit of background flavour onto the bare carcass of the character before the action gets cooking. The stench of plans for a sequel hangs heavy in the air throughout, although the final act leaves very little in terms of character to bring over to any follow-ups.
I enjoyed Salt well enough, but it’s just not got the minerals to make any kind of lasting impression. And too much will give you high blood pressure. And it makes fried potato snacks taste nice. etc