If Inception is the summer's brain-twisting action movie, Salt is its check-your-brain-at-the-door-and-enjoy-the-freakin'-ride alternative. There's a plot here (a mighty farfetched one about a CIA agent accused of being a Russian spy), but it's mostly secondary to the explosive set pieces. While interrogating a Russian defector, agent Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie) is told she is actually a Russian spy trained to assassinate the Russian president. Is she? Director Phillip Noyce piles on the possibility, especially after Evelyn goes on the run like Jason Bourne, dodging bullets, leaping onto speeding trucks, and kicking major ass. Jolie has become adept at playing tough gals, so once Evelyn hits the road with the CIA in hot pursuit, the movie rarely lets up. But Salt doesn't hold together as a story (Inception is more believable): The post-Cold War element is lukewarm, and the scenes with Liev Schreiber as her faithful boss are deadly boring. Too bad all that narrative gets in the way of the good stuff.
Director: Phillip Noyce
Writer: Kurt Wimmer and Brian Helgeland
Producer: Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Sunil Perkash
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alex Pettyfer, Gaius Charles, Victor Slezak, Marion McCorry and Jonah Keyes