Ambulance (2022) review – let the Bayhem begin

April 6, 2022
M.N. Miller 0
Film Reviews
2.5

Summary

The Bayhem experience is back in theatres with Ambulance, a luxury action diversion we used to take for granted but still cannot quite recommend.

2.5

Summary

The Bayhem experience is back in theatres with Ambulance, a luxury action diversion we used to take for granted but still cannot quite recommend.

This review of the film Ambulance (2022) does not contain spoilers.

“Because we used to be friends,” is the kind of Michael Bay lunacy you get when the dialogue is just as outlandish as the action-packed repetitive stunts. However, it is all designed to disarm the viewer to take them away for a few hours. When you watch a Michael Bay picture, it truly is an experience in itself, as if he wants to channel Christopher Cross’s ability to sail his listeners away to forget about their problems. Ambulance is the complete “Bayhem” experience equivalent to that “softsational” rock. 

Bay’s lastest stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Jake Gyllenhaal as adoptive brothers who have gone down different paths. Will (Abdul-Mateen II) is a former combat veteran with a new baby boy and has a wife with cancer. Of course, the insurance company won’t pay the $200,000 needed for the treatment. His only option is his brother, Danny (Gyllenhaal). He has robbed over 38 banks without being caught. Unfortunately for Will, all Danny’s money is tied up in his latest job, a plan to steal $32 million, and Danny could use his brother’s help. 

Of course, the job is not a quick in and out heist, as things go terribly wrong from there. They hijack an ambulance with a brave EMT (Bloodshot’s Eiza González) and a shy police officer (Jackson White) with terrible timing, who was shot by Will defending his brother. Soon, they are driving down the streets of Los Angeles, being pursued by a laid-back Captain (Garret Dillahunt) and an FBI agent (The Dry’s Keir O’Donnell).

Can you fault a man who just wants to ensure his audience gets their money’s worth? Yes and no. Bay’s fifteenth film is adapted from the Danish movie Ambulancen. It is a film that knows how to tighten its script with a 76-minute runtime compared to Chris Fedak’s (Chuck) screenplay, which goes on for over two hours. The characters have so many puzzling decisions that even Bay’s penchant for automobile disasters possibly can’t cover.

For instance, Gyllenhaal hardly wears any face covering the entire time. Yet how does he expect to live his life after escaping when everyone knows what he looks like? This wasn’t the 70s and 80s when video surveillance was rare. You can now be pictured crossing any sidewalk or riding any elevator. The story also hinges on saving a police officer’s life, who has seen, again, their faces. Why? Because they do not want a “cop-killer” on their resumes. Yet, there were to be a couple of dozen police officers killed as part of fiery crashes. Also, they seem to be excessively incompetent for two characters who are supposedly at the top of their profession, a bank robber mastermind, and a world-class driver. Multiple sections could have been cut, including an extended scene where González’s Cam has to perform a surgery that feels like filler. 

That being said, the film can be a lot of fun. Gyllenhaal revels in the role and has excellent chemistry with Abdul-Mateen. Much of this can be credited to Fedak’s script, which has a history of offbeat comic relief. (The scene with both leads singing Cross’s Sailing during a high-speed chase is priceless). This is also one of the few films with a female as an action heroine in Gonzalez. A first for a Bay film that we could use more of.

You have to forgive and forget Ambulance because all Bay wants is to entertain you. This is the type of film that will drive you mad by pointing out all its significant faults, or you will lose yourself for a few hours by wanting to push your problems to the back of your mind. There are too many flaws to recommend Bay’s latest, but I wouldn’t fault anyone who wanted to enjoy the luxury of action diversion in theatres since it was something we used to take for granted.

What did you think of the film Ambulance (2022)? Comment below!

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