I’ve already made my disdain for Michael Bay pretty clear these last few years and his recent releases haven’t done much to sway me. But the reviews that I’ve been seeing for AmbuLAnce these past few months had me scratching my head so much so that I avoided seeing it theaters. Not anymore.
Umm, has the sky fallen? Is the atmosphere imploding in on itself? Am I in Bizarro world? DID I ACTUALLY HAVE FUN WITH A MICHAEL BAY MOVIE?!
As expected, the approach Michael Bay takes is his usual coked up, unabashed extravagant self; constant shooty tooty bang bang that utilizes his over the top style approach and tends to jump the shark in regards to complete insanity. This movie is of no exception even with a simple premise laced with a quick setup that surprisingly takes little time to get going.
But whatever you do, don’t get me started on the camera. As if the return of shaky-cam didn’t leave me visibly dizzy enough, the constant unrelenting sweeping and changing angles with the drone shots is reminiscent to that of a rollercoaster in the best and worst of ways. Sure, it makes the action scenes exhilarating and a few cool shots come out of it but all at the cost at handicapping the viewer when the editing makes it to where you can barely see anything. And that’s not even a QUARTER of Bay’s constant thread of gimmick over-saturation. You want surreal decision-making in a world that operates on Grand Theft Auto V logic - check. Blatant mockery of politically relevant topics - crossed off. Excruciating lip-service to drama to pretend it has a message - gotcha covered. Amateur dialogue slapped onto characters that come off more like complete ciphers - Exit right, please! Trudging pace that eventually overstays it’s welcome - you bet your ass!
The acting also varies a lot. Between Yahya and Jake sharing all the chemistry in the world and hamming it up to 11, everybody else plays it mostly straight, including the music.
But with all that being said, hot damn, did I laugh a lot during this! Between occasional random bits of wicked interplay, SOME attempt at character development, a decent workaround with the production design and how the film’s momentum shifts into overdrive at the drop of a hat, there’s a weird expressive amplification around everything the screenplay touches and it is OOZING with personality. An hour and a half in, I eventually had to just give myself into the madness; there was this bit involving a green ambulance bait and switch that had me dying on the floor.
And on top of that, there’s actually a surprising amount of tension with the mid-budget they had to go for and it actually keeps the momentum and chaotic vibe of the film in one piece despite its numerous detours (of which there are MANY.)
What a coincidence: the one time I try to leave my brain at the door and Bay somehow manages to kill even that thread of escapism. Suspension of disbelief can only go so far with these movies but Michael Bay managed to turn it into freakin’ Stockholm syndrome and I unironically liked it? So with that being said, I guess it’s safe to say check it out?