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July 26, 2010 - Image 8

Resource type:
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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2010-07-26

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Monday, July 26, 2010
The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom
Jolie spices up otherwise bland'Salt'

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A film recycles old mance is on equal ground with even
ks from existing the beefiest of pectorals.
"Salt" is Jolie's CIA field agent Eve-
ter action movies lyn Salt, whom we meet at the end of
along workday awaiting her anniver-
By NICK COSTON sary dinner with husband and total
Daily Arts Writer loser Mike (August Diehl, "Inglouri-
ous Basterds"), allegedly the world's
prototypical action star calls foremost arachnologist and facial hair
big muscles and a battle with magician. You might think that a man
vocabu- who can make his beard appear and
cost as epic * disappear would put that talent to bet-
ne he fights ter use than spider research, but then
is archen- Salt again, Mike is rather dumb. Around
only grunts closing time, the CIA gets a walk-in
brow ridge At Quality16 defector from Russia who says Salt
elter a large and Rave is a Russian spy trained by the KGB
ese fam- Columbia from birth to infiltrate the American
gelina Jolie intelligence community. Presumably
d") does not against her better judgment, Salt splits
ill - she's beautiful, she's ele- and goes on the lam. Before all is said
1, lest we forget, she's a woman. and done, dozens of necks are broken,
he titular CIA operative in people explode, one guy gets paralyzed
olie doesn't rewrite the code by spider venom, we're on the brink of
ction movie. She fills in like global nuclear warfare and Mike's stu-
e actor, and it's a performance pid beard keeps coming and going.
powering than any ham-fisted A film this patently silly desperately
Babe character could deliver. needs a sense of humor; unfortunately,
ugh the film toils in generic, "Salt" forgoes it entirely for a false sense
:ic irrelevance, Jolie's perfor- of worldly importance. International

diplomacy is serious business, and if
maintaining it means killing lots of uni-
formed dudes, well, there's nothing to
smile about, mister. People are dying
out there - people whose names you'll
never know and whose faces you'll
barely see and whose Vaudevillian
accents belie their true nefarious colors.
Director Phillip Noyce is best known
for his Jack Ryan political thrillers
"Patriot Games" and "Clear and Pres-
ent Danger." Besides their protagcs-
nist, the two films share in common a
lot of exposition, steady camerawork
and early 1990s release dates. So while
his experience in chasing diplomatic
intrigue remains stable, Noyce is, sadly,
old. And his movie reflects his age.
Every chase, every fistfight, every set
piece, every line of dialogue is so famil-
iar and so reheated that the film feels
like it was constructed entirely from
chunks of other, better action films that
already exist. The trick where villains
greet each other in a foreign language
but find an excuse to hold their conver-
sation in English, for example, is scat-
tered all throughout "Salt." But Jolie
does her best to salvage some ingenuity.
Where the film shines is in Salt's

"I'm gonna kil Tom Cruise for making me do t
martial prowess. It does a great ser-
vice to Jolie's credibility and indeed the
credibility of heroines in general that
not one quip about Salt's sex is uttered.
Never does Salt feel a sudden urge to
take a long steamy shower, nor does
she seduce a clueless security guard for
the keys to his handcuffs. She can kill
people, evade capture and leap between
moving vehicles like any James Bond
or Jason Bourne. She bleeds all over
the place and gets punched in the face.
She is an action hero, not a heroine. No

stuffymalesuperiorchastiseshis emas-
culated underlings for failing to catch "a
girl." It's much more respectful than the
alternatives and deserves a lot of credit.
The title role was originally written
for Tom Cruise, who agreed to star in
the film but backed out after finding the
character too similar to his previous
stint as Ethan Hunt in the "Mission:
Impossible" series. It's a miracle he
abandoned the project; without Joli4
as Salt, the film would be a chemically
precise feat of sheer boredom.

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The Ypsilanti Community Band
is now the
Washtenaw Community Concert Band
cwelcoming musicians looking for a true concert band experience

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Washtenaw Community College

In partnership with Washtenaw Community College,
earn 2 credits by enrolling in MUS 112
Find out more about the class by visiting
www.wccnet.edu
For more information on the band call
734-252-9221
or e-mail atypsicommband@gmai.com

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