I picked up the Angelina Jolie spy thriller Salt at a Redbox machine this evening, not expecting much. But it turned out to be a lot of fun - a smart, fast-paced, action-packed movie loaded with amazing stunts, most of which seem to have been performed for real, not generated in the hard drive of a computer.
People sometimes underestimate how hard it is to turn out a product like this. No, it's not Shakespeare and doesn't try to be, but a lot of skill goes into bringing the over-the-top story to life in a more-or-less believable way. (Emphasis on "more-or-less," since suspension of disbelief is definitely required.) The filmmakers show considerable ingenuity in advancing the plot mainly through action, and in providing essential exposition as briskly and painlessly as possible.
The movie underperformed at the box office, perhaps hurt by an uninspired title and the inherent difficulty of selling a female action hero. But if you're in the mood for a swift ninety minutes of chases, explosions, and plot twists, Salt is worth a rental. It captures much of the fun of the Die Hard series, doesn't talk down to the audience, and, thankfully, is not freighted with any social, political, or moral message.
My only caveat is that Jolie herself, while excellent in the part, looks alarmingly thin. Angie, for God's sake, eat a cheeseburger or something.