Ambulance, the Michael Bay thriller, has made its arrival to Peacock 45 days after the film was released in theaters in early April.
Unfortunately, the thriller isn’t good. Maybe Ambulance plays better in a movie theater but nothing can save the film when struggling to keep attention at home. Put it this way: there was no amount of caffeine that could keep me awake while watching. Lorne Balfe’s music does what it can to salvage the film but at the end of the day, it comes down to Michael Bay’s directing style. We don’t always need a film to have action in every second of the run time. Sometimes, it’s okay to let a film slow down and breathe every once in a while. It’s in this vein that I understand why so many filmmakers have something to save about the frequent Marvel output.
We know going into the film–from all of the marketing–that three lives in Los Angeles are going to change forever. If you saw the original Danish film, you probably have a good idea of what’s about to go down. This film is nowhere near the intimate film that the original was. This is because Chris Fedak and Michael Bay swoosh in and really make it a Hollywood movie. For his part, Bay didn’t watch the original film going into production. If you’re going to remake a foreign film, maybe rewatch it first. It’s not quite the tense thriller that we’d like it to be.
The gist of the film is that American veteran Will Sharp (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II,) needs money to pay for his wife’s medical expenses. Let’s stop and think about this for a moment. We can have an entire conversation about the broken healthcare system in America. If you want to talk about America not treating veterans fairly, keep an eye out for Breaking. This is a Michael Bay thriller that only serves to give us all sorts of headaches with the shaky cam and cuts in the action. But back to the film itself, Will turns to his adopted brother, Danny (Jake Gyllenhaal). Will knows that he shouldn’t but he does anyway. You see, Danny is what they call a career criminal. What Danny and Will end up doing is robbing $32 million from a bank in Los Angeles.
Here’s where things go wrong: the two brothers end up hijacking an ambulance with wounded cop on board. Anyone else would have left the cop and paramedic Cam Thompson (Eiza González) out to try. Instead, Danny keeps the two on board. Of course, it doesn’t come without the chaos of being chased through the streets of LA. Imagine having snipers shooting while you’re trying to save someone’s life. Paramedics are first responders and heroes. Cam keeps doing her job throughout the stress of it all although its not without her own breaking moment. What I appreciate about Cam as a character is that she isn’t in the film as a plot device. She isn’t there to be a love interest for either Danny or Will. She’s there to do her job.
Captain Tyler Monroe (Garrett Dillahunt), the head of LAPD’s elite Secret Intelligent Services (SIS), is among those put to the task in stopping the Sharps. Much like what happened so many years ago in Clerks, he wasn’t even supposed to be working that day. Federally, the openly gay FBI Special Agent Anson Clark (Keir O’Donnell) is on the scene. Both Monroe and Clark couldn’t be more different if they tried. What makes Clark’s role interesting here is his own history with Danny Sharp.
Michael Bay is one of those filmmakers that you either like him or don’t. Even knowing my own feelings on previous Bay outings, I still went into the film with an open mind. Unfortunately, home viewing doesn’t make up for the theatrical experience as the film was unable to keep me on the edge of the seat.
DIRECTOR: Michael Bay
SCREENWRITER: Chris Fedak
CAST: Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Eiza González, Garrett Dillahunt
Universal released Ambulance in theaters on April 8, 2022. Grade: 1.5/5
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