Angelina Jolie, as Agent Evelyn Salt, plays the sexy spy role well, but the charm she displayed in Mr. and Mrs Smith isn’t present here at all. This is unfortunate because her emotional ties to the rest of the cast are integral to the plot. As seen in the trailers, Salt is a CIA agent who is accused by a defector of being a Russian spy. Salt is forced to run and uses her training and skills to evade capture while trying to prove her innocence.

Her years of experience as a covert operative are supposed to make viewers believe that this slight woman can take down ayone, but some of her fight scenes expected too much benefit of the doubt from the audience, and didn’t feel real. It wasn’t very convincing having such a thin woman carry on in a full fight scene with heavier built men. Despite harsh sound effects and fast camera edits, it honestly didn’t look like she was hitting the baddies hard enough to hurt, let alone knock them out.

Salt has some great twists and turns that kept me entertained and guessing, but that wasn’t enough to keep the whole movie afloat. Before long, these twists began to feel forced, and because I was snapped out of the movie several times after realizing how confused I was, it began to be aggravating to wait for the film to give the audience its bearings again. Phillip Noyce, who also directed the 1997 Val Kilmer spy film The Saint could have imbued the movie with subtle foreshadowing, or at least some foreshadowing as it was nonexistent.

Liev Schreiber, playing Salt’s trusted colleague, did a great job. His imposing yet friendly and sly demeanor fit his part very well. Chiwetel Ejiofor did a good job as well, but his role as another fellow agent was too small. It needed to be bigger for him to really shine. After watching him in Talk to Me, I believe him to be a headline star who needs more screen time to show what he’s capable of. In this smaller role, he does the job effectively, but left me wanting to see more of him.

The special effects were effective and not distracting except for one particular “walk away from the camera during an explosion” moment. It’s not that it was cliche, it’s that any explosion (at that distance, in that environment) would knock someone unconscious. There’s pushing the boundaries of realism for artistic effect, and then there’s that step that’s one step too far.

Overall, the film was enjoyable, but I had higher hopes for this movie. If you’re looking for action with twists, this movie has them in spades.

Three stars out of five.