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Slick’s Nit-Picks: Salt

God was listening to me rage last night and gave me a real birthday present – Hollywood seems to have remembered those two pieces of genitalia that had long since receded back inside itself. Let’s just hope the dangling trend continues. Evelyn Salt is hot – I’m not even talking about the perpetual boner Angelina Jolie has been giving me since Hackers, this character is a woman to watch. Imagine Tomb Raider…if it hadn’t sucked. Now imagine Tomb Raider if it were an awesome movie, throw in some Jason Bourne and a tinge of Daniel Craig’s Bond and you have Evelyn Salt. If she were a man, she’d be capable of withstanding worse torture than Bond did in Casino Royale (any man, straight or not, knows what I mean). If she were a machine, both the T-1000 and the T-X would be her little bitches and she’d be wearing John Connor’s skull around her neck like Flavor Flav wears clocks. You never, ever want to be on this chick’s bad side and that fact made for a very good action-based drama.

I am not spoiling anything because this is one of those “you have to see it” movies. Watching Jolie is like playing a game of Clue – you might know what she’s going to do (the plot is not terribly complex) but you have no idea how she is going to do it or what she will do next and that is what makes the film fun. I will say that there is a definitive moment in the film where it’s like a flip is switched and she goes from mild mannered to cold blooded and I mean five fingers to the face (SMACK!) cold-blooded. From there she never looks back. Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Agent Peabody, her primary pursuer  for a good chunk of the movie. He is assisted by Liev Schreiber, who plays Ted Winter, the director of the CIA branch that Salt worked for. He is the only one that has any faith in Evelyn’s loyalty and he holds on to it for as long as he can. Because of the high level of action in this film, there is not much character development other than that of Salt and her husband Mike Krause (played by August Diehl), but this is done on purpose to add to the mystique. Even the insight we get on Salt is only from flashbacks she has. The hard data will have to wait for the video release because a pause button will be needed to look at all the skills shown on her file page. I also guarantee that when said release hits stores a lot of rewinding will follow the jaw drops that home viewers will have.

I looked into the background of this film and learned that the Salt role was originally intended to be played by Tom Cruise as Edwin Salt. All insanity and Scientology aside, I am glad that he did not play this role for a couple of reasons. The guy has done three Mission Impossible films so we already know he can be a spy. Why make him play another spy? Then there is the whole gender stigma. Hollywood makes it seem sometimes that you have to be built like Chyna or Cyborg for a woman to take a shot. Salt is almost naked in the opening scene and you can tell that Jolie did not do any extensive physical training for the role. In fact she is probably skinnier than I have ever seen her to be honest. Despite this, she gets her ass beaten repeatedly in this movie and never stops. In the same opening scene, she looks worse off in the face than Brock Lesnar did after his recent bout with Shane Carwin. She goes from that extreme to the beautiful work-wife to looking even worse by the end of the movie. I liked that because Hollywood has had a few “tough chicks” over the past few years but as soon as a guy lets her have a right hook, the tough chick crumbles unless she happens to have a gun in hand. Salt had a John McClane demeanor about her – she would acknowledge the pain and then keep going. I would love to see more leading ladies be this way because it is more realistic with how women are today.

This movie is very clearly going to have at least one sequel and I am seriously looking forward to it. If it sticks to the plot of the first flick then we will likely finish with a trilogy. Salt however, is a character with real franchise potential – if the films are done right, we could have a female Bond series where Angelina Jolie is just the first to play the role. I would not be against it but I would want to skip the Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan years and get a Daniel Craig sooner than later. If you like Spy movies or action movies, then you should definitely see Salt. It is worth the price of admission, it is one of the few movies not in 3-D these days and despite the fact that she is showing some age, Angelina Jolie is still pretty damn hot, let’s face it.

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