There’s a particular second in Michael Bay’s Ambulance the place the entire thing clicked for me. Within the midst of a excessive velocity chase on a Los Angeles freeway, a police officer (Jackson White) profusely bleeds out behind the titular car, and EMT Cam Thompson (Eiza Gonzalez) is compelled to carry out novice surgical procedure whereas getting directions from a video name together with her surgeon ex-boyfriend (Andy Favreau) and a pair of his colleagues… who’re consulting whereas standing collectively on a golf course. Palms dig deep in a chest cavity, organs are manipulated, and unconventional gadgets are used as surgical instruments.
It’s insanity, and such a peak degree of insanity that it renders all the expertise in a brand new gentle. The mould for Ambulance is a excessive idea thriller, however Bay orchestrates all of it with such messy, hyper-self-aware and fixed depth that it finally performs like a gory and profanity-laden curler coaster – one which will get you to throw your arms within the air and scream together with all of the characters. So when Jake Gyllenhaal’s Danny is screaming about plastic flamingos, or a remote-controlled low-rider is being tricked out with minigun, all you possibly can actually do is marvel at it, jaw agape.
Primarily based on Laurits Munch-Petersen’s 2005 Danish thriller of the identical identify, with a script by Chris Fedak that remained comparatively fluid throughout manufacturing, Ambulance packs all of its motion right into a single day, and begins chronicling the annoying morning of Will Sharp (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II). Will is a embellished veteran, however his spouse, Amy (Moses Ingram), is sick, and his insurance coverage received’t cowl the $231,000 surgical procedure that may save her life. Determined to handle her and their new child son, he lies to Amy and says that he’s going to exit for a job interview, however in fact he’s secretly reaching out to his estranged, prison brother, Danny.
Will desires a mortgage, however what Danny affords as an alternative is a job and a share of $32 million payday. The plan is to tug off one of many greatest financial institution heists in Los Angeles historical past together with a crew of three different guys (Devan Chandler Lengthy, Brendan Miller, Victor Gojcaj), and the metaphorical prepare is able to depart the station. With no different choices at his disposal, Will joins the theft.
Every part begins out properly, however the plan goes to hell because of the shock arrival of a pair of cops, Officer Zach (Jackson White) and Officer Mark (Cedric Sanders) – who’re solely on the financial institution as a result of the previous is attempting to stand up the nerve to ask out a teller (Kayli Tran). Bullets begin to fly as a Particular Investigation Part undercover operation springs into motion, however Danny and Will cut up off from their colleagues with Zach as a hostage. When Zach is shot, they find yourself hijacking an ambulance with Cam Thompson aboard, and so they race across the metropolis attempting to determine an exit technique and likewise maintain the dying police officer alive.
Michael Bay goes all out with Ambulance, however does so with a wink.
Whereas my appreciation of what Ambulance pulls off didn’t materialize till across the mid-point of my screening (the aforementioned surgical procedure scene), the truth is that the film is bonkers throughout – you simply have to seek out your self on its wavelength. It begins dramatically edging on mawkish, with photographs of Will’s army commendations bluntly contrasting his anxious name with an insurance coverage agent and the piercing sound of a crying child. That is adopted by an earnestly emotional introduction to Cam, whom we watch assist a lady who has been impaled by an iron fence publish in a automobile accident, however the movie actually begins discovering its tone with the introduction of Danny.
Jake Gyllenhaal is without doubt one of the trade’s most gifted actors, and whereas he can excel even when the fabric is refined and nuanced, Ambulance requires some spectacular, Nicolas Cage-level scene chewing, and he’s gleefully up for the duty. At one second he’s probably the most charming, charismatic man within the room, after which a swap flips and his neck veins seems to be able to burst as he bursts with rage; always he’s charming, and will get to ship insane traces of dialogue just like the retort, “I want I didn’t have herpes, however we stay with what we’ve obtained.”
As soon as the principal characters are all aboard the eponymous emergency car, the fuel pedal will get nailed to the ground, and never solely does that imply the normal Bayhem (counting the variety of destroyed automobiles can be an unattainable problem on this near-constant chase), however issues simply get weird. This can be a thriller the place the SIS Captain in control of the operation (Garret Dillahunt) – who’s absolutely decked out in College of Southern California gear – calls off a pursuit as a result of he discovers that his monstrous pet English Mastiff, Nitro, is within the again seat of the police automobile being pushed by Officer Mark.
Ambulance runs longer than it ought to, however nonetheless offers an enormous, satisfying end.
Moviegoers aware of the work of Michael Bay won’t be stunned to be taught that the movie is a skosh overindulgent. Entertaining because the experience could also be, the mixture of the intimate depth contained in the ambulance and the chaos occurring exterior of it’s a lot to soak up, and this can be a function that sports activities a 136 minute runtime. The climax delivers the high-intensity punch it intends, and it finally ends up discovering satisfying conclusions to the dynamics between the characters, however between the entire loopy stunts, flying bullets, booming explosions, and swooping drone photographs, it’s an expertise that leaves you are feeling drained as the tip credit start.
That exhaustion is absolutely a part of the filmmaking faculty of Michael Bay, together with plotting that doesn’t wholly make sense when put underneath scrutiny, however Ambulance succeeds as a result of it is without doubt one of the director’s most “realizing” motion pictures. There isn’t any slick pretension that tries to make you assume you’re watching an overtly severe crime thriller a la Michael Mann’s Warmth. Within the Bay custom, this movie is shiny, loud, and overbearing, and delivered with a wink, it’s certainly one of his finest works thus far.