Review of Ambulance: Exhausting and Extensive


    Afghanistan veteran Will Sharp (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), is a decent low-key family man who is in need of $231,000 to fund his wife's surgery to treat cancer. Unemployed and in desperate need of money to get his hands on the money, he talks to his older brother Danny (Jake Gyllenhaal) regarding the possibility of a loan. Danny is the exact opposite of Will; Danny is an over-excited motorhead, yet one who has an answer for Will.On that same day, in just a couple of minutes in fact, Danny is planning to steal $32 million from the Downtown Los Angeles bank, and he is in need of an employee.

    Guess who is an excellent wheelman? Yep, Will.

    However, Will has stayed clean. The entire purpose of joining the Marines was to cleanse his life. This meant being free of Danny's destructive influence. However, Will agrees.

    In part due to Danny's group of sloppy criminals, the bank robbery proceeds off course, and a cop is wounded. Will and Danny are able to commandeer an ambulance, with the wounded police officer (Jackson White) and a sly EMT staff member (Eiza Gonzalez) as hostages.

    So the chase for 100 minutes begins…

    Ambulance is a two-part film: Speed (1994) in addition to Wages of Fear (1953). An ambulance that is unable to be stopped without Will or Danny being caught, speeds through the highways and streets in Los Angeles a la Speed. The Wages of Fear-dynamite-on-board is the wounded police officer, who could die at any time.

    It's not a surprise that Bay typically employs practical, in-camera effects. After the devolution of the once-great Fast & Furious franchise into a gravity-ignoring, intelligence-insulting, CGI'd videogame, it is nice to see actual cars fly through the air, actual glass smash, and actual vehicles fly through actual streets.

    The issue is that everything is incoherent and confusing.

    There isn't anyone who's sitting in a cinema, eating in-the-middle Twizzlers more content and willing to believe more than me. It's a shame that Ambulance isn't as huge a hit. OK, now I'm willing to admit that Will happens to show up on the scene in desperate need of money moments prior to Danny departing to rob a bank. I'm not even willing to believe that Danny still requires a wheelman, and Danny is actually a wheelman. What I didn’t buy was that Will would be a wheelman too. First of all, it's evident from the beginning that Danny's group is one of unstable idiots who are bound to be a failure. The film is two hours long to discuss why a caring father, or a good person with a decent head on his shoulders would be willing to do something as reckless. The cost of surgery isn't far enough to motivate you, especially for instance, when you're facing the possibility of spending your life in prison, having your wife die while you're locked up and who knows what happens to your child.

    The pursuit itself doesn't make sense. We're told that the authorities don't wish to take drastic measures to stop the vehicle, out of concern for the health of their officer. That's fine. I can understand the point. There are no spike strips, and there is no swerving off the road. This is logical. The thing that isn't understood is the reason why, despite numerous opportunities and having 20 police vehicles in the area and a large number of police cars, nobody ever gets in the way of slowing it down until it comes to a stop.

    Danny and Will escape from one difficult spot each time; however we're not told what they did or how. In one instance, they're chased across the famed Los Angeles River by two helicopters. Whatever action they take is believed to be an incredibly clever one that involves crossing a bridge, and then going in the wrong direction on the 10 Freeway… I still don't get it.

    In addition, where's the Los Angeles traffic?

    ****MAJOR SPOILERS****

    Then, who are we supposed to support? Our protagonist initially seems to be a poor person we should feel bad for; however, he is able to do some terrible things, among them shooting a police officer as well as causing numerous accidents between civilians and police. At the end of the day, we're supposed to feel sympathy for Will and he manages to get his act together to a certain extent, but only to the degree that a policeman claims to be the one who nearly killed him? The most memorable thing about the film, Abdul-Mateen's elegant presence on the screen, could sell this ,however, come on…

    Then there's the homosexual FBI agent (with the addition of a kiss with a man in without a good reason) who happens to be friends with Danny because Danny was a student in Criminal Justice courses to learn FBI strategies, which is a plot element we're expecting to be able to pay for but don’t.

    It appears that we're supposed to support the police until they sit on the sidelines and let a black person die in relation to George Floyd.

    In the end, we're told that Cam is the main character of the tale because her gender is female…

    The ambiguity of morals is something that you can enjoy in a film. It keeps you guessing because the characters are unpredictable, making it impossible to know the next step. Human beings, the real ones, are complex, and their complexities make them fascinating. Ambulance could have been a lot more intriguing had it not been in the exact spot that it was that the Woke Gestapo demanded they fall.

    ****END SPOILERS****

    Ambulance’s biggest flaw is that it's exhausting instead of thrilling, chaotic instead of enjoyable. In addition to the typical camera whooshes, super-slam edits, and the like that created Michael Bay, somebody gave him a drone and the thing swooped across the entire screen like a monkey on cocaine.

    It's too much, too absurd, and too boring.


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