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July 23, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Salt, starring Angelina Jolie, is being described by critics as an “action thriller.” Their reviews indicate that the emphasis should be placed on the “action.” The film moves with such speed, they say, that all the things they’d like to criticize fly by too fast for scrutiny. “Jolie’s character, Evelyn Salt, makes it look as though Run Lola Run was about walking,” writes Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times. Similarly, A.O. Scott remarks in the New York Times: “It all happens in such a frenzy of momentum and on-the-fly exposition that some of the more preposterous elements in the story will strike you only in retrospect.” Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times observes that the movie and its principal character “are perpetually in motion and that’s a good thing for its own sake and because it keeps audiences from dwelling on how unapologetically preposterous the plot in question is.” Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle also concludes that the movie “can seem ridiculous at times.” However, he writes, “The main thing is that Salt holds together. … The action scenes are imaginative and elaborate without seeming fake. Nothing is belabored, and the stakes never stop escalating.” However, Steven Rea in the Philadelphia Inquirer suggests that the filmmakers have overdosed the audience on action. “With its nonsensical setups and wildly illogical twists … Jolie’s action vehicle is just that — an action vehicle, moving fast but thinking slow.” Several other critics pick apart the plot of the movie, but bring themselves up short. “Plot failings aside, hot damn, she’s good with a gun and even better with her fists,” writes Linda Barnard in the Toronto Star. “Criticisms aside, it’s still a short-enough time-killer of a thriller,” concludes Roger Moore in the Orlando Sentinel.

That title, Salt, touched off a plethora of puns from critics and their headline writers, including: “Salt Fun If Not Quite a Meal” — Wall Street Journal; “A small dose of Salt goes a long way” — USA Today; “Jolie is worth her Salt” — Los Angeles Times; Something to go with popcorn — Chicago Tribune; “Well processed, low on spice” — Boston Globe; “Salt shakes up box office” — Daily Variety.

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