Review: Michael Bay’s impressive Ambulance makes Marvel movies look like junk juice

Eiza González plays Camille ‘Cam’ Thompson paramedic in Michael Bay Ambulance’s new film.Andrew Cooper / Universal Pictures


Directed by Michael Bay

Written by Chris Fedak

Protagonist Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jake Gyllenhaal and Eiza Gonzalez

Classification R; 136 minutes

It opens in theaters April 8

Selection of the reviewer

In his latest film, the adored Netflix production of 2019 Basement, director / disaster artist / Hollywood Satan Michael Bay started things off with an exciting, deliciously vulgar 20-minute drive in Florence. In AmbulanceBay’s new film that marks his welcome return to the big screen, the director does himself six times better: The whole 136-minute extravaganza is basically an extended Los Angeles chase scene, pressing only the brakes to make two short on the ground breaths – a tense bank robbery and a chaotic exchange of shots in the warehouse – which are as relaxing as a punch to the head during open-heart surgery (which also happens during the film).

If your modern action movie is boring, anxious or exhausted – hello, Marvel Cinematic Universe and any product outside of Bay promoting Netflix this week – then Ambulance is here to remind you of the incredible pleasures of watching a genuine cinematic madman at work. This is something that makes the eyes, that cuts the ears, that causes disgust Red alert looks like garbage juice is real.

A sleek remix Speed and Heat (with more than a few direct nominal checks on Bey’s filmography), Ambulance follows two brothers, the very good former Marine Will (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) and the naughty thief Danny (Jake Gyllenhaal). Needing cash for his wife’s cancer surgery, Will approaches Danny for a loan. Danny responds with a high-paying banking job that starts… like, now. This early abandonment of the genre contracts – usually in such scenes there is an accumulation of robbery, with the characters overcoming the plot, the stakes, the unpredictability – is the first quick indication that the Bay movie is not going to take a millimeter. of the second to rest. From that moment on, everything went-go-go-must-continue-do not stop.

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Of course, Will and Danny’s robbery is going badly – like, badly at Michael Mann’s level. With the cops circling, the brothers steal an ambulance, which is manned by the tired paramedic Cam (Eiza Gonzales) and transports the severely injured police officer (Jackson White) whom the brothers accidentally shot earlier. So a city-wide chase begins with ropes of typical Bay-movie operatives (the eccentric tactic starring Garret Dillahunt, the FBI equalizer played by Keir O’Donnell) and some surprises, including his best use. Christopher Cross Sailing never devoted to cinema.

A remake of the 2005 Danish film of the same name (which Bay has proudly never seen) Ambulance is, quite wrongly, what the director considers a “small” work. On one level, I guess this is true: There are no military jets soaring or fighting robotic dinosaurs or extinct planetary destruction events. But there is enough destruction and chaos from twisted metal that is displayed to send even the most insatiable fancy action into a state of happy cinematic overdose. The film, reportedly made for just $ 40 million, seems to have cost about $ 100 million more – plus many dead stuntmen and a devastated Los Angeles (a city Bay describes as a desert of rust, rubbish, and homelessness).

Jake Gyllenhaal plays Danny Sharp in Ambulance.Andrew Cooper / Universal Pictures

I realize at this point in my review that I’re probably sounding out of my mind, or maybe at Bay payroll (tempting, if only for the chance to get comfortable with Optimus Prime). But Ambulance is a genuinely bad rush of a thing. For those who crave an exciting spectacle on the big screen, this is 100 percent pure uncut Baycotics.

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Sure, the movie is completely absurd. Each character involved would die within seconds if the action took place in the “real world”. There is a piece about Danny’s drug cartel friends that turns them into Bond superheroes, and for some reason, the infamous Los Angeles horror move is never a problem. But AmbulanceHis world – really, any Bay verse – does not have to function according to the rules of our reality if it maintains a consistent grip on its own ridiculous tone. And this is where Ambulance does extremely well: It is both conscious and destructive. In addition, Bay reduces his usual nihilism – attendees’ lives seem to really matter this time – so we can get a little closer to his characters.

Finally: Can anyone already give an Oscar to Gyllenhaal? The actor has been defying expectations for a long time, and in Bay’s bloody hands he gives a wonderfully unobtrusive interpretation – all the frantic charm and poisonous sociopathy. If Zack Snyder’s Justice League can creak in the Academy pantheon with a social media campaign, then surely the Bay-hive of the Internet can pull its own Ambulance and hijacking next year’s TV show. It’s a beautiful disaster waiting to happen.

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