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File:Salt resizedified 2621.jpg

Salt is an American action thriller film directed by Phillip Noyce, written by Kurt Wimmer and Brian Helgeland, and starring Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Jolie plays Evelyn Salt, who is accused of being a KGB sleeper agent, and goes on the run to try to clear her name. While Tom Cruise was initially secured for the lead, he was unable to commit to the role because of commitments to other projects, and the script was ultimately rewritten for Jolie.

Filming took place on location in Washington, DC and New York City between March and June 2009. Jolie was taken to the hospital after suffering a head injury on set but was released the same day where filming resumed. The film opened in North America on July 23, 2010.


Salt provides examples of:

  • Action Girl
  • Adorkable: Mike.
  • Anti-Hero: And how! Evelyn Salt lives on the edge of Type V territory, and goes deep into it after Mike is killed.
    • On the other hand, she appears to take pains not to kill anyone except the Russian spies, so she's arguably no worse than a type IV, at least from the perspective of American intelligence.
  • Becoming the Mask: Salt was originally only using her husband as a cover to gain entry to North Korean territory for the CIA, but his rescue of her when she was capture lead to genuine love, which lead her to betray her real superiors, the Russians who later had him killed.
  • Bifauxnen: Salt spends the last twenty minutes of the movie sporting a short haircut and men's clothes. It's Angelina Jolie. Nuff said.
  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass: No surgery is involved, but Winter does use the unconscious(dead, in the director's cut) President's fingerprints to confirm the launch codes.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The fanatical sleeper agents, especially Winter and the suicide bomber who used being a NATO agent and White House liaison as his cover.
  • Car Cushion: Salt falls from great heights and has her fall broken by cars and vans, and never receives any lasting damage.
  • Chekhov's Gun: We see Salt collecting spider venom early in the movie, and at the very end it's revealed that she uses it to fake the Russian president's death.
  • Cold War: Even though it's set in present day, the roots of the conflict can be traced back here.
  • Combat Stilettos: Averted. One of the first thing she does when she goes on the run is take off her heels. She wears flat boots for the rest of the movie.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: And how. Especially when you consider that Salt is tearing through scads of presumably highly-trained Secret Service agents.
  • Deep-Cover Agent: During the Cold War, the plan was to send dozens of them into American society, and for all of them to attack different highly placed American targets on a given day. Salt is one as well.
  • Defcon Five: Averted: In the White House's bunker, one of the President's Cabinet correctly changes the Defcon level from '4' to '2'.
  • Description Cut: Peabody, Winter and other agents are discussing how hard it would be for Salt to break into St Bart's chapel, then we see her crawling along the sewers.
  • Did Not Do the Research: That is not how you milk a spider.
    • Also, being a woman, Salt's real name would be Chenkova as opposed to the masculine Chenkov. This was corrected in the Russian dub.
    • The NATO representative is referred to as "Colonel" though he wears Colonel-General (equivalent to the American Lieutenant-General) insignia.
  • Dirty Communists: And how!
  • Dye or Die: Evelyn Salt is blonde. While on the run, she paints it black (and at a certain point, cuts it in order to disguise herself as a man).
  • Expy: Angelina Jolie as a sleeper agent assassin who Turns Against Her Masters because she fell in love with her cover husband.
  • Fan Disservice: Your milage may very, as its Angelina Jolie, at the beginning the movie, Salt, looking dangerously skinny from starvation, being tortured in her underwear.
  • Foot Focus: After the aforementioned shedding of the high heels. Even Roger Ebert noticed.
  • Faking the Dead: The Russian President. Also, does anyone really think Liev Schrieber's character won't be back for the sequel?
  • Foreshadowing: The list of Salt's special abilities that Peabody receives on his phone, which includes skydiving, hand-to-hand combat and many other skills Salt proves that she posesses through the film.
  • Gender Flip: The part of Salt was originally written for a man, "Edwin Salt", and Tom Cruise was considered, but thought the character was too similar to Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible. The part was eventually changed to a female character and very few changes were made, although there was originally a different sequence in which Distressed Dude Salt saves her husband, Unfortunate Implications which was changed because it seemed to "castrate" the male character too much. Uhh...
  • Good Is Not Nice
  • Gratuitous Russian: To the point that one piece of the score has Ominous Russian Chanting.
  • Handy Cuffs: A spectacularly silly example, as Salt had previously just beaten the piss out of several cops and Secret Service agents with her bare hands. Not that it matters. When they cuff her hands behind her back at the end, she still manages to kill Winters.
  • Heel Face Turn: It is unclear when, but somewhere down the line, Salt stopped being a Russian agent, though it most probably happened when she fell in love with Mike.
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: Pistol whips are abound in this movie.
  • Improvised Weapon
  • Inspector Javert: Peabody, in the beginning of the movie. For all he knows, there's a Russian spy loose, and it's his job to catch her.
  • Jump Off a Bridge: Salt escapes from her fellow CIA agents at one point in this way.
  • Karma Houdini: Averted - just as it looks as though Ted is going get away with everything, Salt strangles him to death.
  • Kick the Dog: After Ted mows down everyone in the bunker, while Ted is talking with the president, one woman pops her head out, behind a chair, to have a look around. She is promptly shot in the face, because we weren't sure how evil he was after we laughed at the National Security Advisor joke.
  • Life Imitates Art: The real-life cases of sleeper agents implanted in the US was recently brought to light with a prisoner exchange between Russia and the US, some of the prisoners being undercover spies. The plots and skills of the real sleeper agents were less impressive than the ones in the film.
  • Lzherusskie: As usual, Russian characters are played, with the exception of extras, by non-Russian actors.
  • MacGyvering: Salt improvises a cannon of sorts from several cleaning chemicals, the hollow plastic leg of a table and a fire extinguisher.
  • Make the Bear Angry Again: The bad guys are deep-cover Soviet agents trying to destroy the United States, and they'll do anything to make that come to pass, including eliminating the president of Russia. In other words, Russians are trying to make their own bear angry again.
  • The Mole: A great many characters.
  • Mole in Charge: The Director's Cut heavily implies that the new US President is one of the sleeper agents.
  • Ms. Fanservice / Everybody Remembers the Stripper: Twenty years from now, the movie might be remembered as "the film where Angelina Jolie takes off her knickers" (not that she actually revealed anything...).
    • And in the process, she creates the luckiest security camera in that ever existed. Of course, given that she had any number of other articles of clothing she could have used, the fact that she used her panties of all things is a bit silly.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Russian president Boris Matveyev bears more than a passing resemblance to Boris Yeltsin; is name isn't exactly very differentiated from Dimitri Medvedev's either...
  • Not Helping Your Case: Salt immediately goes on the run after she is accused of being a Russian sleeper agent with orders to assassinate the president of Russia, leaving American law enforcement no choice but to chase her.
    • But then again, she was a sleeper agent after all and so she might have been found out if she hadn't left to protect her husband.
  • Not Quite Dead: When everybody thinks that the Russian president has been shot, it turns out that it was actually spider venom that causes paralysis.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: Both the Russian and American presidents are President Targets.
  • Pet the Dog: Quite literally--Salt has an adorable little dog in the beginning of the movie, just so she can show the audience her softer side. Her relationship with Mike serves the same purpose, in addition to providing her excuse for fleeing.
  • Plot Armor: If pulling off nigh-impossible stunts for most of the movie (including falling from a bridge inside a car, with no seatbelt and back to the panel) and leaving without so much as a scuffed knee doesn't qualify, walking away unscathed after being shot by a rifle (wearing only a light vest) surely does.
  • Reality Ensues: For the bulk of the film, Jolie's rather serious mass/strength disadvantages are ignored in her fight scenes....until she goes up against Schreiber's character.
  • Re Cut: Apart from the theatrical version, there's a Director's Cut and an Extended Cut, each with its own ending (the former has a voice-over implying Salt is dead, and the new president is a covert Russian agent, and the latter Salt escaping from the FBI, and leaving for Russia, where she kills Orlov - the scene with his death in the barge was cut - and destroys the facility where new agents are being created)
  • Renegade Russian: Orlov represents a group of Communist hardliners that somehow outlived the Cold War and are opposed to the Russian government.
  • Rule of Cool: For all we know, Evelyn Salt is Wonder Woman's sister, taking into consideration all the crazy stuff she is able to pull off in the film.
  • Sequel Hook: The FBI chief frees Salt, on the promise she'll hunt the rest of the KAs. Absent from both ReCuts (see above).
    • That scene is present in the Director's Cut, in addition to the further implication that one of the KAs is now the new American President.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The first half of the movie. After desperately searching for her husband, she finds him...only to be forced to stand there and watch him die as a test of loyalty. Granted, it's what opens up the second half of the plot, and in a way it nicely averts A Million Is a Statistic and Protagonist-Centered Morality (since it could be interpreted that her actions - or inactions - mean she believes that preventing Orlov's plans to start a world war is more important than saving Mike. Even so, it did seem to undermine the first half of the movie.
    • Of course, doing this makes the first half of the movie a violent rescue movie and the second half of the movie a kind of revenge movie. Both are normally styles of film reserved exclusively for male protagonists, yet Salt pulls off the lead role being at least as bad-ass as any male action hero.
  • Shout-Out: When Ted reveals his True Colors by shooting down most of the President's Cabinet in the bunker, the National Security Advisor is gunned down after stating his position in a futile attempt to be spared. This is a reference to Air Force One, in which Russian operatives also killed the National Security Advisor during an attempted coup on the titular plane.
    • Also several shoutouts to the Bond films, including the whole North Korean sequence from Die Another Day and Orlov's switchblade shoe from From Russia with Love. Both are entirely factual, but likely to have been shout outs.
    • The way Salt dyes her hair and employs various disguises is reminiscent of the Mission Impossible films and the TV show Alias.
    • She also refers to herself as a "patsy" at one point--possibly a reference to Lee Harvey Oswald, mentioned in the beginning of the film, who referred to himself as such in relation to JFK's assassination.
  • Stun Guns: Salt uses a Taser to knock out and then "puppeteer" a police car driver.
  • Tagline: "Who is Salt?"
    • Which is immediately answered lower in the poster with "Angelina Jolie".
  • The Reveal: Ted Winter. He's actually another sleeper agent.
  • Twist Ending
  • Waif Fu: Ms Jolie has never looked thinner but has no problem chucking men twice her size around.
  • Wall Jump: Salt does this at least twice, jumping off the wall to kick an assailant.
  • Who Shot JFK?: "In 1959, Lee Harvey Oswald visited Russia. The guy who returned was an agent named Alek"
  • Would Not Shoot a Good Guy: If you notice carefully, Salt never kills any of the "good" guys, she knocks them out with darts, non-lethal venom and painful but not deadly martial arts moves. She only kills Orlov, Winter and the other Russian sleeper agents.
    • Half of the things she did would kill someone such as the makeshift rpg.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Averted quite hard.
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