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Angelina Jolie fights Salt's lukewarm Cold War

If Inception is the summer’s brain-twisting action movie, Salt is the 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 quite 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. -- Michael Gallucci

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