*Folks, It is a Michael Bay Movie…
Needing money to cover his wife’s medical bills, a decorated veteran teams up with his adoptive brother to steal $32 million from a Los Angeles bank. However, when their getaway goes spectacularly wrong, the desperate thieves hijack an ambulance that’s carrying a severely wounded cop and an EMT worker. Caught in a high-speed chase, the two siblings must figure out a way to outrun the law while keeping their hostages alive.
“We’re not the bad guys, we’re just the guys trying to get home!”
I have always had a complicated relationship with the artist known as Michael Bay. He has made some great movies (THE ROCK, ARMAGEDDONN), and has revolutionized action movies in a lot of ways. He also has made some movies I absolutely hate (PAIN & GAIN, 6 UNDERGROUND) and has a style that can truly make your head hurt (do I sound like an old man?). His new movie AMBULANCE is just classic Bay in every way and truly is gonna be a movie where if you like Bay you will love it and if you don’t like him, you won’t like the movie.
The story follows two brothers (Jake Gyllenhaal & Yahya Abdul Mateen) who try to pull off a major heist, but instead get dragged into a hostage situation (with Eiza Gonzalez) on, you guessed it, an Ambulance. They each have their motivations, which are explained very quickly, and then the movie just kicks into gear. Basically, you get an 1:45 minute car chase with a couple scenes bookending the story. It is an absolute shot of adrenaline and keeps you gripped until the second that Ambulance stops. The only issue for me is personally, it was almost too much.
The cinematography, from Roberto De Angelis is absolutely bananas in this movie and I honestly almost had to get out of my seat and go in the hallway because it was making my head spin. At points I honestly felt like I was watching a Saw movie with how intense it was. The drone shots were vertigo inducing, and the handheld, in Ambulance cameras were so visceral you felt like you were in there with them. The score from Lorne Balfe contributed to the lunacy as well with one of the most pounding scores I have ever heard. It was full cinematic Bayhem, there really just is no other word.
Stock Neutral – Jake Gyllenhaal
The guy is a star and seems like he will do anything that is fun, interesting, and has a good filmmaker attached to it. He is absolutely unhinged in this performance, and that is when we seem to get the best out of him. Always interested to see what he does next.
Stock Up – Eiza González
She has been in a bunch of stuff up to this point (GODZILLA VS. KONG, BLOODSHOT, SPIRIT UNTAMED), but this feels like the breakout performance. She matches Gyllenhaal and Yahya on every level and honestly wins the movie for me. Very excited to see where she can go from here.
*A couple other tidbits
- The shoehorned story of Yahya’s family felt very odd and out of place.
- The circular shot near the beginning when Gyllenhaal’s character is trying to convince his brother to join the heist, is truly stunning.
- Put some respect on Garrett Dillahunt’s name!
- They did a surgery on the back of a moving Ambulance, with the doctors on Facetime. Incredible stuff!
- During said surgery the victim wakes up and they have to put him back to sleep by punching him. Like I said, Incredible Stuff!
- The running gag of talking about Michael Bay’s old movies was funny.
Michael Bay is who he is, and if you are looking for an insane, visceral experience, this is the movie for you. I highly recommend seeing it on the biggest screen possible to get the full Bayhem effect.
*You can find my 2022 Movie Rankings here.
*You can find my Michael Bay Rankings here.
*You can find all of my Movie Ratings here.
*You can follow my Letterboxd account here.