Director: Michael Bay
Writer: Chris Fedak
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Eiza González
Michael Bay has outdone himself with Ambulance, one of the dumbest films to ever grace the big screen. Somehow, even with the stupid ramped up to the eleven, it’s still incredibly entertaining, laugh out loud funny, and also has you on the edge of your seat with tension. It’s a pure thrill-ride of a film.
Veteran Will Sharp (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) needs to raise money for his wife’s surgery and reaches out to his brother, Danny (Jake Gyllenhaal), for a loan. Instead Danny offers Will a job, a big bank robbery where nothing can go wrong. Being out of options, Will reluctantly accepts and inevitably things go wrong in the worst way possible. Will and Danny find themselves using an ambulance as a getaway car, with a cop they shot in the back, who is the only reason they are still alive.
Ambulance is the kind of film that never settles for just one level of madness, you think you have it figured out, that nothing can get even more ridiculous, and then there’s an FBI agent who’s in charge of bank robbery investigations, but he’s also school friends with Will, so he’s the only one who can negotiate with him. Then the cop in the back of the ambulance is bleeding out and an EMT, Cam (Eiza González) is performing surgery on him, with help from Will, the man who shot him. It just keeps ramping up and ramping up, and getting sillier and sillier, and you just can’t stop watching. It’s very funny and very engrossing.
Jake Gyllenhaal is absolutely great as the borderline psychotic bank robber. He’s intense, charismatic and funny. An incredible performance, that’s probably too good for a film where his brother must donate blood while driving an ambulance in a highspeed police chase. It’s because Gyllenhaal is so great that the film works. He’s giving it his all and it really gets you hooked. Likewise, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is excellent as the more level-headed brother. The emotional centre of the film as a veteran who can’t get the help, he needs from insurance so is forced to turn to extreme measures. There is a lot of chemistry between them, and they bounce off each other really well.
It’s never played like a straight up comedy, but there are more great jokes than a lot of comedies. There’s even a reference to Bay’s own Bad Boys. The action is also incredibly well shot, keeping you on the edge of your seat and with some incredibly flashy camerawork, you feel like you’re in the middle of it. It’s a visual treat, and you’ll be left wondering how they managed to shoot certain moments. The camera bounces around all over the place at points. It’s been a long time since there’s been such an incredible car chase in a film, and this one takes up the majority of the running time.
There’s only really one downfall and that’s the length. It feels about twenty minutes too long, and by the time the end comes around you do really feel it. At one point it feels like everything is wrapping up and then it continues for a bit longer, before dragging out the ending for as long as humanly possible. Maybe it wouldn’t be so noticeable if you cared more about the characters, but this isn’t that type of film. It’s a loud and proud action thriller that runs on pure adrenaline.
Ambulance is the perfect film to switch your mind off and just enjoy. It’s really dumb, constantly outdoing itself with just how ridiculous it gets, and for the most part keeps you hooked, thanks to two great performances from the leads. It’s well worth seeking out and not the worst way to spend an evening.
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