By Lee Romero
DO THEY EVER RUN OUT OF GAS!?
Love him or hate him, if you’re a film aficionado, Michael Bay is a name that’s branded itself in your brain. Like all filmmakers, he’s got his style, pizzazz, and cojones in how he executes his flicks. That being said, his flicks always generate three expectations: one, enter with a completely disengaged mindset of anything that pertains to plausibility, two, brace yourself for some crazy cinematography, and three, expect it to never run out of gas (literally or figuratively) until it comes to a screeching, “WTF!?” halt! His filmography speaks for itself, and you know what? AMBULANCE—a remake of a 2005 Danish flick of the same name—is just as Baybaric!
Simply put, AMBULANCE is a heist piece that follows two brothers: Will (Yahya Abdul-Mateen) and Danny (Jake Gyllenhaal) entangled in a web of a complicated cat-n-mouse chase throughout LA, as they attempt to pull the biggest bank robbery in the city’s history totaling $32 million. There’s some method-to-their-madness, but what ups the ante here is as the heist leads from one nutty situation to another, they hijack an ambulance with a wounded cop and EMT (Eiza Gonzalez) on board. With a wild, revved up high-speed pursuit that never seems to stop, Will and Danny have to evade a crazy, city-wide chase, make sure they keep their hostages alive, and lastly… somehow, someway try not murder one another while attempting an insane escape.
If the plot sounds crazy is it’s because it is in every way, shape, or form. For starters, if you’ve seen one heist flick, you’ve seen them all. They all have a formulaic way of moving along that always leads to some crazy chasing, gunplay/tough guy jargon, and endings that always seem a little sour, considering you’re cheering for the same characters how are committing a crime! Strange, right? Gotta love the movies! AMBULANCE doesn’t fall too far from the heist tree, only this one gets right to it! And I mean RIGHT to it. It’s a two-hour, road raging expedition that has you riding shotgun until the very end.
I think the best way to describe this flick would be chaotically entertaining, adventurously engaging, cynically humorous, and visually intense! This is one wild flick. It’s extremely ambitious with everything the narrative is throwing at you as it moves along acts. It sets up the pace during its first 15 to 20 minutes with who’s who, what’s what, and why! (Hence my “method-to-the-madness” comment earlier.) Then it launches itself ruggedly and picks up speed. The intensity of AMBULANCE gives its audience exactly what it intends to. It pulls not punches and elevates the objectives of all characters in play as the story moves along. It’s got twists, turns, screeching halts, emergency surgery, heroes and anti-heroes, intense sound mixing, a pulsating score, dark humor, insane camera angles and editing, mindboggling action sequences, lots of yelling, and it all rides on the backs of an interesting duo in Abdul-Mateen and Gyllenhaal.
On the flip, don’t go into this expecting art or build-up or character arcs or anything along the lines of anything that makes sense, because it won’t. Trust me when I say there’s a lot in the piece that makes you cringe – and that alone is part of the fun. It doesn’t deprive you from an entertaining experience. It’s a popcorn flick inundated with chaos, charm, and chuckles. Did it have to be over two hours? Nah! It’s bloated. You’ll walk out with sensory overload, but it’s worth it. So much, you’ll never look at an ambulance the same way. I guarantee it.
Genre: Action/Adventure, Thriller, Crime, Remake | Rated: R | Run Time: 2:16
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Eiza Gonzalez
Directed by Michael Bay
Official Movie Site: AMBULANCE