/* I actually saw this movie twice and really appreciated it the second time. When I wanted to read through my original review after I saw it the second time, I realized I never posted it and it was still stuck in my drafts queue. This post is a hybrid of the two watching experiences. */

When the news first came out that Tom Cruise was being replaced with Angelina Jolie in Salt, I was pretty psyched: I’ve always wanted more hard-core spy and action films with a female lead – especially when that someone is Ms. Jolie who can easily play both the Bond girl and Bond. So I filed it in my ‘must watch’ folder and promptly forgot about it (yes, I need an app that tracks, saves, and reminds me of films I’ve wanted to see when they become available; but that’s an entirely different topic).

The plot is an interesting throw-back to the Cold War era, once again reminding us of the great dynamic of spook vs. spook films of lore. As with any good spy film, there’s a question of allegiance, a surprise twist, and a fair amount of heartbreaking betrayal, with sprinkles of innocence of the main protagonist’s love story. Liev Schriber and Chiwetel Ejiofor (love this man!) are a great supporting cast.

It’s refreshing to see the physicality of the film — the fight scenes consist of as much realism as a film like this can muster, and they come off as brutal and methodical rather than overproduced and fake. There is, of course, a fair amount of crazy stunts like truck surfing, but because of the intensity of most of the other hand-t0-hand (or foot-to-head more likely) scenes, it goes over well and doesn’t illicit a ‘come on’ type of reaction that I can’t help thinking Tom Cruise in the same role would definitely warrant.

I wonder if Ms. Jolie would be interested in a Bond-like franchise (or Mission: Impossible). She’s incredibly entertaining to watch in all of her action roles (Mr. and Mrs. Smith is one of my guilty pleasures, Wanted was fantastic, and let’s not forget how much fun Tomb Raiders were) and with this role she brings a new depth to female action heroes that I find quite refreshing and unique. She has the ability to appear fragile and super-hero strong at the same time and I think that contributes greatly to her action heroine appeal.