It’s one of the most fun Bay movies in a long time, with a great cast that elevates the somewhat thin plot that results in an engaging actioner.
Ambulance is certainly a Michael Bay movie, if the amount of destroyed cars and explosions are any indication. The film’s action is intense and the stakes incredibly high. While the director’s movies from the last decade haven’t necessarily been memorable or often good, Ambulance is a return to form. Adapted from the 2005 Danish film of the same name, and from a screenplay by Chris Fedak, it’s one of the most fun Bay movies in a long time, with a great cast that elevates the somewhat thin plot that results in an engaging actioner.
Will Sharp (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) is a U.S. Marine veteran who is struggling to find work. He’s doubly stressed because his wife Amy (Moses Ingram) needs an experimental surgery that their insurance refuses to pay for. Desperate, Will goes to his brother Danny (Jake Gyllenhaal) for a loan. An expert bank robber, Danny convinces Will to help him pull a bank heist that would leave them with $32 million. Will agrees and things seem to be going smoothly enough when a rookie cop, Zach (Jackson White), gets involved unknowingly, leading Danny and Will to hijack an ambulance with EMT Cam Thompson (Eiza González) inside to get away.
Ambulance is a thrill ride from start to finish, though it does go on for 15 minutes too long, which undercuts the momentum of the film quite a bit. For the majority of the film’s runtime, Danny and Will are inside the ambulance with Cam, stuck in a high-speed chase with the Los Angeles Police Department and one FBI agent (Keir O’Donnell) on their tail. It’s a tight space in the vehicle, and one would think that the suspense would start to taper off rather soon after the brothers take it, but it only amplifies the tension and makes the payoff all the better. The action itself is impressive. There are, of course, exploding vehicles and high octane chase sequences that will entertain audiences.
The camerawork is also great here, often panning up the side of a building before plummeting down and around in a 360-degree rotation that can be nauseating and exciting all at once. Such moments ramp up the intensity of every scene, leaving viewers continuously wondering how Danny and Will are going to escape. While the film is big on action and spectacle, it’s grounded by the relationship between Danny and Will, brothers who don’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of things but care for each other quite deeply. Will is calm but intense, whereas Danny sounds like he’s about to lose it at any given moment. They balance each other quite well, and the audience gets a glimpse into their strained dynamic, the pain of the past and different perspectives that have driven them apart as much as it has brought them together.
Jake Gyllenhaal as Danny delivers an over-the-top performance that works because it’s so ridiculous. The actor delivers certain lines with a charm that is underlined with frustration. Gyllenhaal plays Danny with a lot of barely held back anger and in moments where he’s shouting about blue vs. green paint or pondering on people’s perception of his sensitivity compared to Will, it comes off as (perhaps unintentionally) comedic. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, on the other hand, imbues Will with a sense of unease that is tinged with desperation to save his family and not see anyone hurt. Abdul-Mateen is the heart of the film; he has a striking presence and conveys a lot of his character’s emotions through his eyes. He and Gyllenhaal make for a great pair, which becomes all the better when Eiza González’s Cam is thrown into the mix. González nails her performance as an emotionally closed off Cam, holding everyone at arm’s length. She brings a sense of rationale to the proceedings and the actress certainly delivers.
Ambulance is a good time at the movies and one of the most fun Bay films in a long while. The editing elevates the high-stakes tension and the action sequences are exciting, rarely losing their edge. While the film meanders for a bit and is longer than need be, it maintains a good balance between character dynamics and the thrill of the chase. And with a fantastic cast at its center, audiences will surely be entertained overall.
Ambulance released in theaters April 8, 2022. The film is 136 minutes long and is rated R for intense violence, bloody images and language throughout.
- Ambulance (2022)Release date: Apr 08, 2022
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