If it hadn't been for Angelina Jolie, then Salt would have been a particularly by-the-numbers thriller/Bournian movie. Not that it's not all stuff we've seen before, it just feels slightly fresher with a woman in the lead roll.
But I don't know if it would have been as good with anybody other than Angelina (I definitely wouldn't have been interested if the original lead, Tom Cruise, had still been the star, but I also can't really think of another woman who could have pulled it off as well). You believe her when she's being sleek and elegant just as much as when she's kicking some guy's ass seven ways till Sunday.
Even so, there were a few stunt sequences where I definitely had a moment of thinking "seriously?"... but I'm not sure whether that was just because they were just so over the top and unbelievable, or whether it was having a woman indulge in a lot of those thriller clichés that made them seem even more cliché than usual.
And since I knew that the movie was originally written for a man and was then completely reworked when Angelina came on board I did find myself wondering if the movie had really been changed that much beyond a few pronouns, a change of brother to sister and swapping Salt's wife for a husband.
The plot is fairly engaging (one possibly substantial plot hole at the end not withstanding), I will admit to being slightly confused a few times as to where Salt's allegiances actually lay... and I was slightly surprised by part of the ending... but some of the action sequences had me very much in the moment, even if a number of them did suffer from that modern affliction, Bourne Cameraitis...
And the ending has "We want to make a sequel" written all over it!
All things considered though, not a bad addition to the genre.
yani's rating: 2 barefoot agents out of 5