I have a fetish for action movies and action heroes. Nothing scientific or aesthetic, nor do i fancy the violence and gore, nor am i setting out for catharsis or all those fancy theatrical tropes supposedly inherent in movies, but merely for the sheer thrill and exhilaration of car chases, of the amazement for the artfully executed hand to hand combat, of the spine-tingling suspense created by heroes running out of time trying to outwit and outdo villains, of the excitement of watching characters at the point of epiphany as they puzzle out clues and unravel deceptions. And at the heart of it all is of course, the lead actor. In my view, an action movie is as good as the actor portraying the action hero. Take “Salt” for example:
I enjoyed this movie a lot. The plot , if there was any, [never mind what the producers were thinking by reprising an age-old issue about Russian-American Cold War and espionage theme] is a typical James Bond prototype and requires you to hold your breath until the end. The climax was just as good and not something you are supposed to expect. But, I feel a little uncertain about its lead star–the very famous and very beautiful and very sexy(an understatement) Hollywood Goddess Angelina Jolie. First, the movie seems to call for a male lead (i am officially putting it in the Bourne, James Bond, and Mission Impossible category). I mean, I should be happy movies portray very strong women, not only physically but emotionally. For instance, instead of breaking down into hysterics when her husband was murdered in front of her eyes, she calculatingly avenges him in less than an hour after wards. Of course, the movie makers must have great powers of anticipation and covered that possible loophole with the many flashbacks about her extraordinary and impeccable training as a Russian spy. Though i still can’t figure out what her motives are, nor trace her psychological development, Evelyn Salt is no doubt a deviant from the usual women-heroes we see on screen. But I seriously doubt she is for real. Then again, she could always be regarded as a symbol of present day women-heroes. As for her acting, nothing new there–there’s still the usual pout to her pouty lips, the spectacular come-hither expression on her gorgeous eyes, the alluring walk and posture captured by the cameramen to perfection until you want to scream “enough already! you made your point! she is hot, ok? so let’s move on”. Besides, she’s too busy trying to save her cute ass, her husband, and the world from insane Russian terrorist [actually, i find this very surprising. i thought Russia and the US have forever held their peace], climbing buildings, jumping down elevator shafts or moving vehicles to pay attention to her acting .
Second, it is hard to analyze the character without relating her to the actor’s life. In other words, I’d be an affective fallacy waiting to happen so I’ll stop here. The movie seems tailored-fit with her in mind. It would be safe to assume she will soon be stereo-typed in such roles. Well, not that she will allow that. It’s funny how people brand her as anorexic. How can somebody with anorexia do what she did in this movie?
For action thriller junkies like me, Salt is a perfect movie. As for Angelina, hmm. Don’t know what to make of her. She might have defied the law of physics here while i’m suspending my disbelief. Let’s see what she does next.