Premieres in theaters April 13 ‘Ambulance. escape plan‘, a remake of the Danish film ‘Ambulancen’ (2005), which almost doubles its duration, conducted by Michael Baywith names in the cast like Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Eiza González and a tight 40 million dollar budget that leaves a result on screen that should put many greats to shame recent productions More expensive.
Trying to discover in 2022 the problems and virtues of the cinema of the type behind ‘Armageddon‘ (1998) is, if not redundant, completely useless, since some more and some less, each one already has their own image of what the Californian director is. The grotesque and puerile tasteless director of the ‘Transformers’ movies or the virtuoso of the action cinema addicted to the explosions of ‘The rock‘ (The Rock, 1996), sometimes both at the same time, and other times surprising and effective in a more modest profile, always on its terms, like this one.
The plot of ‘Ambulance’ has a war veteran named Will Sharp desperate for money to cover his daughter’s medical debts, so he turns to his foster brother Danny, who offers to take part in a bank robbery. But his escape attempt goes awry and the brothers they hijack an ambulance with a wounded police officer and a paramedic with whom they must flee of a huge device of security forces deployed throughout the city while keeping their hostages alive.
A simple idea, which could have been written by Larry Cohen – more like the writer of ‘Last call‘ (Phone Booth, 2002) than as the author of the film ‘The Ambulance’ (The Ambulance, 1990)–, one of those that manages to combine three elements to extend the proposal to an inexhaustible experience that Chris Fedak’s libretto manages to keep it on top for more than two hours of which, practically more than 90 minutes correspond to an uninterrupted persecution.
Bay seems to have taken a liking to giving his movies a Scorsese touch after ‘Pain and Money’ and here he seems to accumulate incidents in a structure with a certain echo of ‘wow what a night‘ but with a crazy kinetics where he applies all his usual tricks, throwing the rest and deploying a large number of drones and cameras above, below and from the side of his truck, to create a dizzying ode to speed that looks like the anabolic-fed son of ‘Speed‘ (1994), ‘Unstoppable‘ (Unstoppable,2010) and ‘The escape‘ (The Getaway, 1972), only instead of a bomb about to explode we have a wounded man on whom the survival of the ambulance passengers depends.
Tension at 200 kilometers per hour
The accumulated tension increases the pulsations in each curve and Bay seems to manage his surprises without regard to plausibility, and he does not need to, with a crescendo in which each new character, each new improvised plan and police move is an impossible twist which makes ‘Ambulance’ a snowball of fun. Few times has the director been so wise in refining his montage to leave only the meager slices, avoiding the alternation “action scene / dialogue scene” that has sometimes affected so much the rhythm of others of his efforts.
The media limitation means that the image is sometimes not as sophisticated as some of his other works, but there are a sense of improvisation that benefits the dynamic chaos of the adventureeven quite a few of his slapstick humor gags work, mainly thanks to the alertness of the actors, especially a Gyllenhall who has taken the pulse of his most histrionic version and finally plays a dark and deranged character at his height, which works very well in contrast to the confidant Abdul-Mateen, also specialized in giving a wide range of grays to his roles, who always generate a particular compassion thanks to his gaze.
‘Ambulance’ is a defibrillator discharge to the comatose blockbuster without superheroes: shots, explosions, violence and combustion of liters of gasoline in an exhausting kamizaze tour of Los Angeles with Bay providing a fifth-gear narration manual to show that, when he wants, he becomes that gifted composer of action movies capable of thinking big to give us undeniable films like ‘13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi‘ (2016) or ‘Pain and money‘ (2013).
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‘Ambulance. Escape plan’: the return of the best Michael Bay is a fast-paced adrenaline rush that never slows down