Ambulance: a movie review by Alex First

April 6, 2022 by Alex First
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Just a fairly typical day in the life of a paramedic. Hardly!

Up the stress levels to the max and then add several more layers and you’d be on your way to understanding what a bad day is in store for Cam Thompson (Eiza Gonzalez).

Ambulance is set in present-day Los Angeles.

African American Will Sharp (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) is a former marine who is struggling to find work.

He has a loving wife Amy (Moses Ingram) and a baby son.

Amy is in urgent need of an operation, but insurance won’t pay for it because it is experimental and Will doesn’t have the money to pay for it.

So, unbeknownst to Amy, he turns to his Caucasian brother Danny (Jake Gyllenhaal), even though Amy has told him to stay away from Danny.

Although Will and Danny grew up (and mucked around) together, Will felt he had to get away and that is when he joined the military.

The reason had to do with their father, who was an inveterate and violent bank robber and Danny has followed in his footsteps.

Although Danny told Will that he had given the game away, he is now planning the biggest heist of his career. As he is one man short, he ropes in a most reluctant Will.

At stake is US$32 million and what at first seems like easy pickings turns out to be anything but.

A massive car chase with helicopter surveillance follows.

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Caught in the middle of it is the paramedic Thompson who is tending to a cop that was shot twice during the robbery and could die.

She is hijacked by Danny and Will, who commandeer the ambulance and hold her and the injured police officer hostage.

Ambulance, based on a 2005 Danish thriller and written by Chris Fedak (his first feature film) presents nonstop action.

There is gunfire aplenty, police vehicles totalled, explosions and mayhem.

Not surprising, given it is Michael Bay (Transformers) in the director’s chair.

Ambulance looks spectacular. The visual effects are sensational.

The sound and score ramp up the impact.

There are twists aplenty – curve balls being thrown all the time.

Sure, you can readily say “how far-fetched and ridiculous” and on one level you’d be right, but this is the type of material Bay prides himself on.

His mantra appears to be nothing exceeds like excess and excess is definitely the name of the game again here.

I thought all the key players put in a good showing.

Eiza Gonzalez certainly held her own alongside Abdul-Mateen and Gyllenhaal.

She brought an attitude and air of invincibility to the role.

Gyllenhaal channelled menace, while Abdul-Mateen played up strength and vulnerability.

Around them, those cast as the key police and FBI personnel are most serviceable in filling their respective personas.

Ambulance is tense throughout, leading to a Hollywood ending.

Rated MA, it scores a 7 out of 10.

Ambulance (MA) – 136 minutes 

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