Michael Bay is back, and he spent the pandemic learning how to fly a drone!
Bay happens to be a director that people seem to recognise. I can’t work out what the turning point of where people began to know his name, I feel like it was somewhere around Bad Boys II and Pearl Harbor. 6 Underground was Bay’s last film, a venture into streaming that didn’t pay off for me, his style and tone not working at all, seemingly having not learnt from his failures in recent years with Transformers and his success with 13 Hours.
Ambulance stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as two criminals on a heist which goes wrong, so they hijack an ambulance with successful paramedic (Eiza Gonzalez) and an injured policeman being held hostage as they are on the run from the police.
Michael Bay is known particularly for his big explosions, over the top action and slow motion. Ambulance is lacking in these areas. The film is mostly one big car chase so suffers from almost needing constant action, with small dips, but goes for the opposite, long dips where there’s a lot of talking between the people in the Ambulance while the police back off and give them space before they decide they need to step up the chase again, and bear in mind this film is 2hrs 16mins, thats a lot of time to fill and there’s not a lot going on, but plenty of time for many pointless drone shots which don’t add a lot.
Gyllenhaal turns up with a performance which has similar energy to his MCU role as Mysterio in Spider-Man: Far from Home. A pretty over the top performance amongst others who aren’t over the top in the slightest, playing a character that feels like he should actually be in Bad Boys. But this is one Gyllenhaal can tick of on his list before he continues on with his other 11 projects he has in the pipeline.
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is someone I’ve got an eye on closely in recent times after his strong performances in Watchmen, Candyman, The Trial of the Chicago 7 and The Matrix Resurrections. Slowly becoming a big name in Hollywood, Abdul-Mateen has been grinding away and is becoming a star, who we will see next year returning as Black Manta in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. It’s with him that the best moments of the film takes place.
Eiza Gonzalez does a decent job, she can be very hit or miss, she’s been in some decent films (Baby Driver, I Care a lot, Godzilla vs Kong) and some flops (Paradise Hills, Bloodshot). She’s definetly talented and getting her name in with big directors (Edgar Wright, Robert Zemeckis, Robert Rodriguez) and holds her own against two strong performers.
Overall, Ambulance is fine as a simple action film, which really could’ve benefitted from chopping off about half an hour from the run time to make it tighter across the board, bringing in some of the slower moments. Far from Bay’s worst, but lacks anything special to make it memorable, apart from the 20 times we get a drone shot that goes up a building, does a 180 degree turn then comes back down. However, I am somewhat intrestested to see what Bay does with his next film, Robopocalypse.
What did you think of Ambulance?