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REVIEW: Ambulance [2022]

PEx_MoviesPEx_Movies Administrator PEx Moderator
edited March 30 in Movie Reviews #1
A one hell of a heart-pounding, occasionally dizziness-inducing action-thriller.

PEx Reviewer: @benchboy
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures International

As if we haven't had enough of hospital-related images on our screens because of the pandemic, here comes a movie with a title that still somehow reminds us of all the anxiety we experienced in the last two years and unfortunately people in some parts of the world are still experiencing.

It might turn off a few, but viewing it from another perspective – talking about a new film offering to be shown in movie houses means the cinemas are open again, and we can go back to our recreational activities with our friends and families! There's time again to switch to escapist mode!

Indeed, if you wish to forget about your worries for around two hours, Ambulance, a one hell of a heart-pounding, occasionally dizziness-inducing action-thriller from no less than Transformers and Armageddon director Michael Bay, would definitely suffice.

Around half of the movie's visuals feature the emergency vehicle as brothers Will and Danny (Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), after robbing a bank, use it to try to escape the police while taking medical technician Cam Thompson (Eiza Gonzalez) hostage. Michael Bay being himself, big budget car chases are aplenty here, and the characters won't feel like they're not relatable or two-dimensional.

Still, the long chase sequences would tend to make one question how come the authorities never got to outsmart the protagonists and box them in somewhere. To a certain extent, the story pacing got limited in this plot part, thus, perhaps, the inclusion of some 'intermission' scenes – such as some conversations involving the three characters, and one showing Will and Danny singing to Christopher Cross's Sailing while wearing earpods.

One saving grace in the ambulance sequences though, was the performances by the actors. Gyllenhaal and Abdul-Mateen were undoubtedly engaging, and Eiza Gonzalez – wow – she has such a captivating presence on screen!

Cinematography-wise, I find that the bee/fly POV in the camera work, gliding through building surfaces like Spider-Man, feels stylistically unnecessary and unsuccessful as attempts to add tension and 'bigness' to the film. It was also somewhat distracting that despite all the stressful situations the protagonists figure in, their appearances would be all fine moments after.

In the end, as we navigate our way through the 'new normal,' it's possible that movie consumption in the local theatres won't ever go back to pre-pandemic popularity, especially with the wider penetration of streaming services even among casual viewers. Nevertheless, I guess as long as there are entertaining, big movies of Michael Bay scale under 'now showing' or 'coming soon,' the film industry's not dead yet, and can still very much recover.

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