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Needs More Pepper

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Trailers | July 12, 2010 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Trailers | July 12, 2010 |

Salt was originally conceived as a Tom Cruise vehicle but he turned it down because he felt that the character was too similar to his Mission Impossible character. That character was a spy named Ethan Hunt. The character in Salt is a spy named Edwin Salt. Totally different. So they turned to Angelina Jolie, who had expressed an interest in starting a female spy franchise. “Edwin” becomes “Evelyn” and a franchise is begun! I’m seriously disappointed that they didn’t make the name “Edwina,” but that would have required a Nether Scroll and insight into an entirely separate school of geekdom.

The basic plot line of Salt is that a run of the mill desk jockey CIA analyst gets caught up in an assassination plot but morphs into Jason Bourne once cornered. That’s the first tweest. Presumably there are more.

Cinema Blend got a hold of four clips from Salt, which demonstrate as much Bourneieness as they can manage short of letting Jolie kill a man with a magazine. There’s a fire extinguisher rigged into a flame thrower! The dive off an overpass onto a passing semi! The backseat escape from police custody, complete with using a taser combined with involuntary muscle spasm to control the accelerator!

Meh. Look, the Bourne rip offs are the classic case of stealing the trappings of a good film and missing the heart that actually made it good. The everyman spy who bursts into clever spurts of action is the framework of Bourne but what gave it staying power was the dichotomy of the man Jason wanted to be and who the Bourne Identity actually was. An unarmed Bourne taking down two police officers was not brilliant because of the choreography but because of the mixture of exhilaration and horror on Bourne’s face while he does things he doesn’t know he knows how to do. There’s a hint at this sort of depth in the “I have to save my husband!” refrain, but overall the feeling from the clips is just that they’re running the Bourne rip-off playbook right down to the typos and coffee stains.

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Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.