Going to a movie is an important choice. So as many people do with important choices, let’s get into a pros-and-cons analysis of Michael Bay’s new movie, Ambulance.
Pro: It looks great! Kudos to DOP Roberto De Angelis.
Con: The plot is so simple, it could have been written in crayon.
Pro: Jake Gyllenhaal. I mean, who doesn’t love Jake Gyllenhaal.
Con: Jake Gyllenhaal having to deliver some really bad dialogue.
Pro: The first car chase (so exciting!).
Con: All the other car chases (so repetitive!).
Pro: The supporting cast – including Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (The Matrix Resurrections); Eiza González (Godzilla vs Kong) and Australian actor Olivia Stambouliah (Packed to the Rafters) – are great.
Con: They have to appear in a movie that makes little to no sense.
Pro: Did I mention it looks great?
Con: The body count.
Ambulance is the American remake of Laurits Munch-Petersen’s film Ambulancen (2005). But while the earlier film was a low-budget thriller, there’s absolutely nothing low-budget about this film. The fact Michael Bay is the director should tell you pretty much all you need to know. The cost of helicopters alone would probably dwarf the entire budget of a movie like Bergman Island. Bay has a reputation for big, dumb movies – and, yep, this is a big dumb movie.
The script by Chris Fedak is paradoxically both simple and overly complicated. The plot is simplicity itself – two brothers rob a bank and spend the rest of the movie trying to get away – in an ambulance. But the details in the script are so garbled it hurt my brain trying to parse them. As a small example, the film starts out by tut-tutting American gun culture, but then proceeds to absolutely revel in gun violence. Some of Bay’s directorial choices are puzzling – like having chunks of dialogue drowned out by background noise and Lorne Balfe’s (Black Widow) bombastic score.
So for me, the cons outweighed the pros of Ambulance. But fans of Michael Bay’s particular style of OTT filmmaking will find this delivers exactly what they’re expecting.
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David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television