Run time 100 minutes.
Not for children.

Angelina Jolie in “Salt.”

Tom Cruise was originally sought for the role of Evelyn Salt played by Angelina Jolie (well, if Tom had been cast maybe the first name might have been different; who knows?). Even with Jolie in the role, Director Phillip Noyce shows he knows how to keep the pace moving without a pause.

Salt works for the CIA when a defector comes into the interrogation room and says there’s a sleeper agent who is in the country to assassinate the Russian President. Salt is instructed by her boss, Ted Winter (Liev Schreiber), to interrogate him. At the end of the interrogation, he identifies the sleeper as none other than Evelyn Salt.

Evelyn bolts, and this starts a movie-long chase with what seems like the entire US Intelligence establishment out to get her, but she eludes them time and again. The action is non-stop.

But even with Cruise in the title role, it couldn’t have been more preposterous than this. The stunts performed by Jolie and her doubles are even more ridiculous than most stunts, like jumping from the top of one speeding truck to the top of another speeding truck with nary a scratch or slip. What’s even more ludicrous than the stunts is the way Evelyn conquers all the men who confront her. Presumably all these guys are just as expertly trained in hand-to-hand combat as Evelyn, but there’s never anybody who is a match for her. And she takes on several at a time.

Oh, well. Silly as it is, it’s effectively made and highly entertaining. I don’t think there was a second when I didn’t thoroughly enjoy this. In short, this is a meaningless, forgettable movie that you won’t remember for any appreciable period of time. There are no memorable performances. Nobody needs worry about Academy Awards (unless it’s for the score by James Newton Howard or the editing by Robert Elswit, which really enhance the action). But it’s very entertaining.

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