What do you get when you blend talented actors with intense car chases, massive explosions, and some sort of plot and character development? If you said, "a Michael Bay (Transformers) movie", you would be correct. Considered one of the best action directors alive, Bay makes car chase scenes and explosions into an art form all its own. Once again, his expertise is on display in his latest release, Ambulance. Taking place over the course of one day, paramedic Cam (Eiza Gonzalez; Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw) becomes a hostage in an ambulance while trying to save a police officer's life.
Will Sharp (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II; The Matrix Resurrections) is a military veteran, whose wife Amy (Moses Ingram; The Queen's Gambit) is dying from cancer. There is an experimental surgery she can have but the government military health insurance won't cover the $200,000 price tag. Desperate to save his wife's life, Will goes to see his brother (through adoption), Danny (Jake Gyllenhaal; Spider-man: Far From Home), and asks him for the money for Amy's surgery. However, Danny, a career criminal, offers Will millions if he helps Danny rob a bank. Reluctant, but loyal to Danny and willing to do almost anything to save Amy, he agrees. Of course, nothing goes according to plan, and Danny and Will find themselves in a game of cat and mouse with the police.
Bay is a leader in directing action/adventure films and watching one of his movies is to witness a filmmaking master class. His use of unusual angles and camera movements makes for some memorable moments in the action-packed film. However, the feel of Ambulance is still distinctly Bay who once again leaves his formidable footprint on another movie.
Gyllenhaal is an interesting choice, but his Machiavellian portrayal of Danny is devious, deceptive, and brilliant. Abdul-Mateen II is one of the hottest actors in Hollywood right now and he and Gyllenhaal have an excellent rapport that beautifully lends itself to the believability that these two men were raised together as brothers. However, Gonzalez is the best part of the trio. She is strong, yet sensitive, extremely intelligent, and confident yet occasionally unsure of her abilities. She holds her own against these two gentlemen and comes out on an even playing field, if not, on top.
The visuals are excellent, and Bay uses the latest technology to push the envelope. For example, his team would discuss with him the shots he wanted and then the camera drone operators took over and created some incredible visuals. It also allows Bay to show several overheads that help increase the tension throughout the film.
The problem with a Michael Bay film is that he doesn't edit enough, letting scenes continue longer than necessary and drags out moments that don't add anything significant to the overall story. Conversely, Bay doesn't add as many explosions as he usually does which makes the ones he does use more impactful and meaningful.
Ambulance is like the bride of Bay's films. It has something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. The old and borrowed are comforting, familiar, and what audiences have come to expect from Bay. The new is the advanced technology utilized in the film allowing Bay to offer some incredible shots and the blue is simply for the LAPD characters.
Michael Bay fans will be thrilled with Ambulance as it marries his signature style with some new concepts and ideas. As stated earlier, the run time (well over two hours long) is unnecessary and should have been shortened. Otherwise, it is a solid movie that most audiences will enjoy.
Bonus: Best use of the Christopher Cross song, Sailing, in a movie...EVER!!!!