Angelina Jolie is the only actress in Hollywood who can actually get paid 20 million bucks for playing Evelyn Salt. Guess who was asked to play the role before Jolie. Tom Cruise. That’s right. The studio originally had Tom Cruise in mind and so they wrote the original script with a male as the lead role. Mr. Cruise turned down the role because of fear that Salt was too similar to his Mission Impossible character. With the snap of a finger Mr. Evan A. Salt turned into Mrs. Evelyn Salt. Personally, I’m glad he turned down the role because Ms. Jolie did one hell of a job; the plot could have used a little more work though.
Let’s start with the good—the pacing. The movie works so well because of this aspect. As the audience, screenwriter Kurt Wimmer and director Phillip Noyce makes sure that we’re following Evelyn Salt from beginning to end. I don’t think there was one instance where I knew what was going to happen next. At one point, I thought I had the entire movie figured out and then a minute later I realized I was wrong. The movie keeps you guessing from beginning to end.
The cast was strong as well. Pulling Angelina Jolie on board and transforming the role from a male to a female was a smart move by the studio. Not to mention, Tom Cruise hasn’t performed well in terms of box office numbers. Knight and Day anyone? After all the advertising the film went through, it was still a flop. After Mr. and Mrs. Smith, many people thought Angelina’s days as hot action star were done and over with. But Angelina showed that she still had power to pull people to the box office when she played Fox in the 2008 film Wanted. Mr. Liev Schreiber has come a long ways as well. We’re seeing him more nowadays in action packed movies. What I like about him is that he can play the villain and the hero.
What keeps the film from being great is the plot. We’ve seen a lot of detective movies in the past, and Salt needed to give the genre a breath of fresh air. Yes, the producers did try by casting a female lead, but the story itself is nothing new. Salt doesn’t reinvent the genre in any way and I’m not so sure if reinventing was the goal of the producers. There were a couple of questionable moments in the plot that really took me out of the story. Another problem I had with the film was the importance being placed on her husband when really his character didn’t do much for the film in the first place. I also thought the ending could’ve been handled much better. It leaves you wanting more, but not in a good way. I felt like a kid opening a Happy Meal and realizing there’s no toy inside.
Now lets get the the fun part—the action. Salt is a great action film. If you’re looking for a film that delivers the punches and the explosions then this film is for you. What I liked about the action in Salt is that it wasn’t the same old boring stuff; it was new, fun, and dangerous.
Will I see Salt 2 if it goes into production? Yeah, I will, but I’m only seeing it once. I’m giving the movie 3.5 stars out of 5. Go check it out.