Ambulance Dir: Michael Bay (Film Review)

Ambulance is director Michael Bay’s attempt to make a “small, character-driven film”. On that score, he failed fabulously. But Bay being Bay, there are enough car crashes, explosions and gunfights to make up for its lack of character.

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Eiza Gonzalez

Let’s face it, with a resume of titles like Armageddon, Pearl Harbor and Transformers, no one goes to a Michael Bay film to get in touch with their feelings. And Ambulance, despite any good intentions, is no exception.

Here’s the set-up: Two adopted brothers, Danny (Jake Gyllenhall) and Will (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) hatch a plan to rob an LA bank to pay for Will’s wife’s “experimental surgery”…this being the US, the half a million dollars needed is not covered by their insurance.

By way of back story, the brothers’ dad was a bad dude and Danny has chosen a similar route, while brother Will is an ex-Marine and family man.

Needless to say, the bank heist does not go as planned, the police arrive and after much, much shooting and crashing, the brothers, along with millions of stolen dollars, end up hijacking an ambulance and, with Will driving and Danny shooting, make their getaway. Only trouble is there is a wounded cop in the back, ‘accidently’ shot by Will, and an EMT person, Cam (Eiza Gonzalez) keeping him alive.

And there you have it…some may call it Speed in an Ambulance, others just call it good, dumb fun.

Technically, the cinematography is incredible…especially the dizzying, fast-cut shots taken by FPV’s (First Person View) drones.  And the action feels very real…no CGI here, just plenty of vehicles to smash up.

Also, the character development is pretty good as we learn more about the characters and our alliances change through the picture.

If only it would end.

Clocking in at 135 minutes I felt like I had just sat through the Ambulance and Ambulance II. By the time our (anti) heroes land in the Los Angeles riverbed, any semblance of plot has been discarded and it feels like we’ve moved from Speed to Chinatown (I half-expected to see the ghost of John Huston).

When the dust settles, the resolution of the story seems fairly obvious. One wonders why it had to take so long to get there.

Marty Duda