Before anything else, if you’ve not seen this movie, then don’t read this review. Because I talk about some key plot points which might spoil it for you, and I’d prefer not to do that.
Having seen so many movies come to high definition with little or no effort on the part of the film company who made them, Salt is actually a breath of fresh air.
While I’m happy to accept that the entire style and presentation of this spy narrative owes much to the work of Paul Greengrass and his excellent Bourne movies, Angelina makes a believable super-agent, and the entire movie moves at an exceptionally brisk pace. It’s a quart of Bourne, mixed with a dash of Mission Impossible and a slice of Nikita.
I’d guessed most of the plot twists well in advance, but it was still fun to see how things played out, and it probably made most viewers think they were smarter for beating the narrative to the punch.
There are at least two really good reasons for getting the Blu-ray, not least an excellent selection of extras, many of which aren’t in the DVD release. There are two commentaries, one for the extended version of the movie, and three DVD-featured featurettes, The Ultimate Female Action Hero (8.05 HD), Spy Disguise: The Looks of Evelyn Salt (5.27 HD), “The Treatment” a Radio Interview with director Phillip Noyce (27.21 Audio).
The exclusive BD extras are another four featurettes, The Real Agents (12.33 HD), The Modern Master of the Political Thriller: Phillip Noyce (9.16 HD), False Identity: Creating A New Reality (7.15 HD) and Salt: Declassified (29.47 HD).
They’ve also added a ‘Spy Cam’ option, which has a picture-in-picture presentation through the theatrical release version, if you like being distracted.
There was much more here than I was genuinely expecting, but I’d suggest these additions are not the real nugget here. What’s much more interesting is the two completely alternative versions of the movie, one of which is the Directors Cut and the other an Extended Version. In the UK this movie was released as a 12A with cuts.
These omissions are addressed in the other cuts and, actually, so are the changes made in the USA to get a 13-PG rating. But more fascinatingly, they also fix a number of plot holes that the theatrical release suffers.
One question everyone I asked about this movie had originally is why Salt runs at the end. Well, if you watch the director’s cut you find out why, and also possibly why Orlov’s plan actually works, although it’s not the plan as presented in the theatrical version.
What appears to have happened is that the studio liked the movie, but the director’s cut doesn’t really allow for a sequel, so it got altered to make that possible. I won’t spoil what ultimately happens, but the director’s cut, in particular, has significantly more balls in delivering a less than perfect ending. The extended cut is also interesting, because in it the death of one character happens at an entirely different point, which alters things quite dramatically, and results in a totally different ending.
If you liked this movie then you’ll want to see both of those cuts, because even if the running time differences are in the region of four minutes, those are minutes that put some much needed edge on what is essentially a by-the-numbers spy thriller.
In terms of quality, both the video and audio transfer is of the highest quality, with sound in DTS-HD Master Audio on the English, German and Japanese audio, and 5.1 Dolby on the Hindi and Turkish soundtracks. There is also an English descriptive audio in Dolby Surround.
Overall, this is a better movie than I was expecting, even if it does have a few scenes where reality is asked to be exceptionally elastic, and as a Blu-ray disc, it’s an ideal present for anyone who is a big spy movie fan, or who just can’t get enough of Angelina Jolie.
Salt is out now on Blu-ray and available from the Den Of Geek Store.
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