Angelina Jolie, Salt and the Female Action Superstar

4 Stars

I definitely wanted to chime in regarding the movie “Salt”, starring Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Already, there’s been some harsh reviews from some of the prominent movie critics out there. And the bottom line is, those artists and entertainers who put themselves out there in front of the public are subject to praise or ridicule. And I think that’s totally fair.

But, critics in general can make or break an artist (and personally, I’ve experienced that first hand from a local critic who didn’t have many nice things to say about my performance).

The difference between Angelina Jolie and I? Critics can pan her all they want. Somehow, she pulls through and she already has built up a collection of movie roles that have proven she is a force to be reckoned with, a talented soul, a persona that defies the critical reviews. She is Angelina Jolie, one of the most attractive femmes on the planet, and her beau is Brad Pitt.

From Edward Salt to Evelyn Salt

Supposedly, the role of Salt was offered to Tom Cruise, who eventually passed on it and somehow the character was transformed into a female lead with Angelina Jolie taking on the character of Evelyn Salt.

The movie was originally scripted with a male lead and Tom Cruise was approached to play the title character. Ultimately, he backed out and the script was rewritten with a female lead and Angelina Jolie took the role. —imdb.com

So, the lead role was transformed from Edward A. Salt to Evelyn Salt and much of the script was re-written… enter Angelina!

Critical Reviews

Most of the critics who wrote less than shimmering reviews of “Salt” and Angelina’s performance in it, mentioned that the movie was hopelessly cliched and more of the same. Some pointed to Angelina Jolie’s performance as a subject of criticism. The overall rating at RottenTomatoes.com was 57%, pretty dismal for a brand new action flick, starring an A-list actress such as Angelina Jolie.

To Jolie’s credit, she is a convincing action star. She can’t, however, take the movie’s reheated world tensions and make them seem fresh. Long after James Bond settled his score with the Russians, ‘Salt’ picks up his fallen torch and wields it clumsily.

One writes…

It’s too bad the actress spends more time jumping from pose to pose instead of getting to explore a potentially engrossing character.

Others add…

There was enough people getting kicked in the face and punched in various places for me to feel like it was not a complete and total waste of my time.

The Quintessential Female Action Hero

Of course we should eventually get to the praise for the movie and Angelina Jolie’s performance as Evelyn Salt.

First, I look at Angelina Jolie and what she’s done with the female action super hero, the femme who like to kick a*s and asks questions later. I guess you could say she was fortune for getting the role of Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider series. But, judging by her lean yet athletic physique, it’s pretty obvious she was the right lady for the role. And, ultimately she managed to branch off into other action movies like “Wanted” and “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”.

When you look at the history and progression of her action roles, Angelina has played it smart and developed herself into the top female action star the world has ever known. She definitely kicks a*s but somehow her philanthropic projects and raising her on United Nations style family… flows into her onscreen persona. Which I think is a good thing.

A High-Speed Summer Blockbuster

My feeling is that the movie “Salt” (now that the script needed to be re-written for a female lead) served two purposes: 1) presenting to the audience a viable Summer blockbuster action flick that is entertaining and full of fast-paced action that can bring you to the edge of your seat. 2) with the re-writing of the script to fit the leading lady, the movie also became a “vehicle” to launch Angelina Jolie as a viable action star. And, I believe she truly made her mark, taking her femme and action hero status to a higher level.

And if we look at these two approaches to the film, the it should be that much more enjoyable.

After all, we as viewers come to the movies to be entertained. And most, if not all, films have their flaws. There is no perfect movie out there. But at the same time there is the need for artistic express and presentation, elevated to a higher level, that makes performances like this one stand out and shine.

I think Angelina Jolie “shines” in “Salt”. She is badass and she really pulls it off with her charisma and command of the role.

Reportedly, Angelina Jolie did most of her own stunts. —imdb.com

Yes, you can take anything in any movie, especially when it comes to action movies such as this one, and you can find things that would be highly improbable and unbelievable. But that’s what movies and Hollywood are all about. Many critics fail to realize the entertainment value… just pure entertainment, for we go to the Summer movies to be entertained, and not to give a critical analysis.

Summer blockbusters are, well, supposed to be thrilling, with enough twists and turns along the way to keep you guessing. When all is said and done, Angelina’s performance here just might be more appreciated for it’s importance in elevating the female action super hero to new heights.

Did I think Angelina’s performance was great? Yes, and I think there is an obvious dedication to her craft that shines through. I found the movie very entertaining, not boring at all, and highly fast-paced. I was able to follow the storyline and plot, yet I wasn’t bogged down by too much going on like I’ve experienced in other movies.. And, I’m hoping for the sequel to come out soon (it was quite obvious that they were setting that up), and this is one I’ll have to buy on DVD (or blu-ray).

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Carlos Rull

Carlos Rull is a musician living in the San Diego area. His interests include Yoga, Eastern Philosophy, Zen Buddhism, and Gardening. He plays drums, piano, and composes New Age & Ambient music, and his albums are available on iTunes and Amazon.com.

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