Andrew Schwartz
Owen Gleiberman
July 21, 2010 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Salt

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
runtime
99 minutes
Wide Release Date
07/23/10
performer
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, Andre Braugher
director
Phillip Noyce
distributor
Columbia Pictures
author
Brian Helgeland, Kurt Wimmer
genre
ActionAdventure

We gave it a B

STARRING Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, Chiwetel Ejiofor
DIRECTED BY Phillip Noyce
WRITTEN BY Kurt Wimmer and Brian Helgeland

After kicking butt in Tomb Raider and taking names in Wanted, Angelina Jolie has shown that she can play the action game just as well as Hollywood’s A-list big boys. But with her latest rock-’em-sock-’em thriller, Salt, she may prove that she can replace them, too.

You see, back in the summer of 2008, Salt was a script about a CIA agent who’s accused of being a Russian sleeper spy — a male Russian sleeper spy. At the time, Tom Cruise was attached to play the lead. But as the script evolved into more of an on-the-run espionage thriller, Cruise began to feel that the character was a little too close to his Mission: Impossible alter ego, Ethan Hunt. When Cruise bailed, Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal remembered a series of conversations she’d had with Jolie about creating a female James Bond-style franchise for her at the studio. And voilà, the movie’s hero, Edwin Salt, was rechristened Evelyn Salt. ”We tried to change the name to Edwina,” says Jolie via e-mail, ”but it didn’t quite have the same ring to it.”

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