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Audiences will eat up 'Salt,' then ask for seconds

ENTER MOVIE-SALT 3 MCT
Angelina Jolie stars as "Evelyn Salt" in Columbia Pictures' contemporary action thriller "Salt." (Courtesy Columbia Pictures/MCT)

The protagonists in movies like “Salt” are always escaping capture by the skin of their teeth.

There’s a scene early on when the title character is sealed off in a building with the authorities just behind her. You’d never think that somebody would be able to get away under these circumstances. But Angelina Jolie’s Evelyn Salt still manages to cook up an escape plan in an inventive and riveting fashion.

“Salt” is full of on-edge moments, and the audience contemplates how Jolie’s character will break free. When Salt finally devises a way out, she doesn’t disappoint.

The role of Evelyn Salt was originally written for a male and to be played by Tom Cruise. But it was thought that Salt was too similar to Cruise’s Ethan Hunt in “Mission Impossible,” so the character was given a sex change, and the part went to Jolie.

But “Salt” shares more similarities with “Minority Report” than “Mission Impossible.”

Evelyn Salt is a CIA agent, living a happy life with her husband and their dog.

When a terrorist accuses her of being a Russian spy though, Salt is hunted by her employers and forced to go on the run.

In addition to “Minority Report,” “Salt” also strikes resemblance to “The Fugitive” and the “Bourne” pictures.

However, those movies focused on people who were essentially good guys on the run. The twist here is that Evelyn Salt may very well be a Russian spy assisting an assassination plot.

Even when you think you’ve figured out Salt’s true identity, there turns out to be another side to her.

“Salt” is one of the summer’s most surprising and arresting mainstream films. Director Philip Noyce devised an entertainment with thrilling, fast-paced action and a terrific character at its helm.

Following “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” and “Wanted,” Jolie delivers another fantastic portrayal with the makings of a first-rate action star. Jolie brings charisma, wit and elegance to Evelyn Salt in a performance that ultimately carries the film.

The plot is no less preposterous than other recent action movies like “The Losers” or “Knight and Day.” However, “Salt” is so elegantly executed with superb action sequences and sharp plotting, the audience is able to overlook its improbability.

The movie may be totally infeasible, but it’s an intelligent and exciting infeasible movie.

Some cynics might find the movie far-fetched and claim that they were able to figure out who Salt really was fairly early on. I on the other hand thought “Salt” was downright fun without a dull moment.

In the shuffle of summer movies, I sincerely hope “Salt” will find an audience so future installments will be inspired. It will be a grave injustice if we have to sit through two more “The Last Airbender” films and we don’t even get one “Salt” sequel.

Reach the reporter at nspake@asu.edu


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