You know those dreams within dreams within dreams in Inception? I'm starting to feel this similar effect of reality within reality. On one plane of reality, I was in the vicinity of the real Angelina Jolie at Comic-Con in San Diego.
On another plane, I had somehow landed at a movie theater in Los Angeles watching a projected image of Angelina Jolie in Salt. The time difference within that first level was less than half a day, but on that second level of stretching and straining, I felt like I had lived in a theater for weeks...oh, wait...
Anyways, Angelina Jolie in Salt...verdict: fine, lovely and thoroughly capable of much believable buttkicking. Salt is an old-school action film (circa 2003) which combines Bourne-like pacing and energy with other Phillip Noyce-directed thrillers such as Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. Unlike the Bourne movies' in-the-dark protagonist, agent Evelyn Salt has no case of forgotten identity. It's the audience that's left in the dark for at least half the running time to figure her out. Is she a covert Russian agent determined to kickstart World War III? Or is she a framed CIA operative looking to clear her name? Or something in between?
Frankly, the real answer to the film's labyrinth of surprises and the "Day X" conspiracy (a plot to assassinate the Russian and American presidents), isn't as interesting as watching Jolie do what she does best - act and kick ass. Originally, Tom Cruise was slated to play the movie's hero, but thankfully, the actor knew it wouldn't be too much of a stretch from his "Mission: Impossible" antics. With Jolie in the lead, this movie feels energized. She's more than up to all of the physical tasks, and her acting prowess makes you sympathize with her character without truly discerning her real motives. Despite a few clunky stunts (I loved the car top hopping, but was so-so on the skips down the elevator shaft), Jolie keeps this baby rushing head-long towards an explosive return at the box office, and a potential new franchise.
Question to the action fans: who is the most capable female action hero in all of moviedom? After Tomb Raider, Wanted and Salt, Angelina makes a viable case for the title, but what about Linda Hamilton in T2, Sigourney Weaver in Aliens or Geena Davis in The Long Kiss Goodnight? Other ideas?