Ambulance Review – Michael Bay Diversion Thriller Filled With Radioactive Steroids | Movies
Michael Bay, the action movie’s overactive thyroid, took on a small, skinny, low-budget Danish film called Ambulancen from 2005, about two criminal brothers who hijack an ambulance, put an IV in his small arm, and fill it with radioactive steroids.
The result is a supersized remake that’s an hour longer than the original: an LA action flick with explosions, black-and-white police cars twirling through the air, muscular guys with big beards and big guns (but no hair) growling menacingly, senior police officers in mirror shades gazing darkly at rest at the horizon, daring paramedics – and an adorable big dog that an officer sentimentally takes to work with him in the car. The hysterically kinetic cinematography means no one can run in one direction without the camera diving in the opposite direction overhead.
Ambulance has everything…but actors giving a decent performance as believable characters in a workable storyline. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II plays Will Sharp, a decorated veteran in dire need of money for his sick wife’s surgery. In desperation, he turns to his dodgy adoptive brother, smoothie career criminal Danny Sharp, played by Jake Gyllenhaal with a nervous array of supposedly smart sages and who may have been encouraged by the director to flaunt a sort of disturbingly uncharismatic “charisma,” running contrary to Gyllenhaal’s talent for deliberative composure.
Danny instantly and implausibly recruits Will as a driver for the bank robbery he’s about to pull off in half an hour. Uh, is that a good idea since Will has no training or aptitude for the job? Do not ask. Either way, the flight goes mightily aside; the boys end up shooting a cop and pushing him into the ambulance they’ve commandeered at gunpoint, in the back of which paramedic Cam Thompson (Eiza González) has no other choice than to keep the cop alive as they roam the streets with the police in a fierce chase – often smashing sidewalk fruit stalls in the traditional way. There’s even a traditional stage going down the LA River.
If only Bay had used the natural style and humor of Gyllenhaal and Abdul-Mateen. Instead, they look like people who have never met before stepping out of their luxury trailers. In dialogue scenes, each man looks like he’s staring at a green screen, and González has nothing to work with. For all spectacular action sets, there’s something silly and annoying that sets in long before the two-hour mark. It flatters.