Michael Bay ‘going small’ is everybody else’s ‘going completely bloody huge’. Ambulance, the motion specialist’s fifteenth function movie, was trumpeted as a return to the director’s roots, shot quickly in the summertime of 2020 on a fraction of the finances he normally performs with. His roots, after all, have been hardly delicate affairs, and neither is Ambulance — nevertheless it’s the closest to his career-high, The Rock, that he’s been in years.
After the self-indulgent misfire of his final movie, 6 Underground, it is a cracking instance of how Bayhem can work (to an extent) inside some tight parameters. The simple premise, taken from the Danish movie of the identical title, is sound: two brothers, certainly one of good coronary heart (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, on steadfast type), one near-psychopathic (Jake Gyllenhaal, on deranged type), one paramedic hostage (Eiza González, the grown-up within the room), and one ambulance, versus all the LAPD. On paper it’s a couple of financial institution heist, however the movie rattles by way of that half pretty rapidly, as a result of that is to its core a chase film; like Pace earlier than it, it takes the concrete highways of Los Angeles as its grand stage.
Nearly reassuringly, Bay’s hallmarks are nonetheless right here. Golden hour continues to be 24 hours lengthy. Clichéd dialogue nonetheless abounds (“No person is aware of this metropolis higher than you!”). Bay has nonetheless by no means met a lens he doesn’t need to flare. Something that may explode in all probability nonetheless will. However he’s added some new feathers to his cap: in an audaciously meta transfer, Michael Bay characters are actually in a position to reference and even quote earlier Michael Bay movies; his digicam is nowhere close to as sleazy because it as soon as was; and spiralling drone pictures give his body dizzying new views.
At instances you’ll surprise how the hell a digicam even fitted between the congruence of dashing metallic and conflagrations.
These acrobatic angles, in truth, add a wholly new dimension to Bay’s motion, and the motion is actually the one cause we’re all right here. At instances you’ll surprise how the hell a digicam even fitted between the congruence of dashing metallic and conflagrations. The tempo, in the meantime, is relentless and white-knuckle. “We’re locomotives,” screams Gyllenhaal’s character at one level, “we don’t cease” — which actually feels like Bay describing his personal work ethic. Lord is aware of how a person approaching 60 can preserve these power ranges up.
It’s in no way at all times coherent: that relentless pursuit of tempo usually ends in hard-to-follow enhancing, and the director appears to share the identical philosophy in the direction of sound-mixing as Christopher Nolan, with sonic fury generally prioritised over audibility. A lot of the movie pays critical respect to police militarisation, too, which appears out of step with the temper of America. And lots of it’s simply tremendously foolish: a farting canine is a key plot level, whereas somebody yells at an important second about their cashmere jumper.
It doesn’t all work. However when the sirens are blaring at their greatest, it’s a reminder of why no person does daring, brash, bonkers blockbusting fairly as thrillingly — or loudly — as Bay.