Cast: Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber
Direction: Phillip Noyce
The titular role was originally written for Tom Cruise but he declined, choosing to star in the somewhat similarly-themed Knight and Day instead. Subsequently the producers decided on a gender-switch; he (Edwin Salt) became she (Evelyn Salt); and Angelina Jolie clinched the assignment. Unfortunately, they forgot to add a few things like a plausible storyline, credible characters and edge-of-the-seat excitement.
Looking the best she’s been on-screen recently, the lithesome Ms Jolie portrays a CIA agent who’s accused of being a Russian spy. Embroiled in a web of intrigue and on the run from her colleagues in the agency, the lady displays the sort of punch-’em-up skills that would make everyone from James Bond to Mata Hari pea-green with envy.
Expectedly, the plot is subsidiary to the stunt sequences most of which have a secondhand feel to them. It doesn’t say much for the purported espionage thriller that we never feel that the woman running for her life is in any real danger.
Throughout, director Noyce who previously worked with Angelina Jolie in The Bone Collector (1999) strives to create a super-charged atmosphere. Try to make sense of the convoluted narrative, though, and the film falls apart right before your eyes.
As for the human interest quotient, the relationship between the super-agent and her arachnologist husband is depicted in a couple of perfunctory flashbacks.
With the exception of Angelina Jolie who displays swaggering confidence, the cast is across-the-board lacklustre. Polish actor Daniel Olbrychski, a veteran of several Andrzej Wajda films, fetches up as the Russian defector whose revelation sets the farrago in motion.
Desperate action junkies are more than likely to enjoy the ride. Others, however, are advised to take it all with a sack full of, er, salt.