Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Eiza González, Garret Dillahunt, Keir O’Donnell, Jackson White, Olivia Stambouliah, and Cedric Sanders
Director: Michael Bay
Though far too long and marred by the director’s usual pitfalls, Ambulance might well be director Michael Bay’s best movie since 2007. Sleek, simple, and bound by unusual restraint for Bay, the hyper-edited thriller can occasionally be way too into itself, but it all balances out after a while. Jake Gyllenhaal’s over-the-top performance doesn’t quite work all the way, but thanks to a genuinely good Yahya Abdul Mateen-II and an underrated Eiza González, the film remains as engaging to watch as they are. Even if there are too many drone shots, I can see myself revisiting these kinetic action sequences again.
Ambulance didn’t work for me at all. I am not exaggerating when I say this movie gave me a splitting headache. I’m generally not a fan of Michael Bay's style of filmmaking anyway, but his style is on overdrive here, from his obnoxious use of cuts making it hard to understand what is happening to the absurd amount of drone shots that definitely caused my headache. Top that with a nonsensical story, and I was sprinting out of the theatre when the credits rolled. People seem to like this though, so check it out if you want, but this wasn’t for me.
Ambulance feels like a Michael Bay movie from the 90s. In fact, it seems directing this movie, only his fourth non-Transformers movie since 2005, has downright rejuvenated him. He even goes as far as to reference both The Rock and Bad Boys, as if to say “Watch out! I’m back on my bullshit.” That said, you know what you’re getting with Bay: loud, bombastic action that is light on story and even lighter on logic. But it works. It’s predictable and slightly too long, but it’s tense, well-acted, and action packed. For better or worse, it’s everything you want and expect from Bay.