Home Dog senses Ambulance is Michael Bay’s latest less-than-subtle assault on the senses

Ambulance is Michael Bay’s latest less-than-subtle assault on the senses


Jake Gyllenhaal’s Danny Sharp hijacks an ambulance. // Courtesy of Universal Pictures.

Michael Bay has been the film industry’s deli factory for 20 years. Transformers, Bad Boys, 13 hoursand the majority of his catalog of achievement might as well be the same school mush served over and over again, bringing Stock and nothing else.

AmbulanceBay’s last plop on set, however, smelled like something cooked with a little more care.

Trailers for the director’s latest excuse for explosives set up a film with a claustrophobic premise: bank robbers escape a heist gone wrong in a hijacked ambulance. There’s a flicker of something fun there, almost as if the challenge of even the remotest of stories could force something really worthwhile. While this film relies on the fact that it’s a remake of a 2005 Danish film of the same name, Bay can surely let the source material do the heavy lifting.

To the right?

The truth is that if Ambulance Couldn’t be Bay’s first quality watch in decades, so I was hoping I could at least relax and watch another movie that bad, but that’s not even it.

Ambulance turns on the gas quickly, as former sailor Will Sharp (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) finds himself scrambling for enough money to pay for experimental surgery for his wife, Amy Sharp (Moses Ingram). Running out of options, he turns to his brother, a professional bank robber named Danny Sharp (Jake Gyllenhaal), before the two work to nab a $32 million score.

These first moments form a harmless carpet that is torn from under the feet of the public barely 20 minutes later, when AmbulanceThe heist scene sees the film take a dozen turns for the worse.

Keeping up with the action has never been such an insurmountable challenge, as camera movements spin, spin and spin drunkenly through the sets. Viewers are dragged, not guided, through a cacophony of car chases and shootouts, as Ambulance’s soundtrack stumbles through scenes with little thought.

The Sharp brothers’ heist then turns into a hostage situation on the road with EMT Camille Thompson (Eiza González) and injured cop Zach (Jackson White) held at gunpoint in the backseat. This is where most of the film takes place – in the confines of a small ambulance with four people obsessed with screaming, bleeding and gunfire. Sometimes it’s all three at once.

With so many scenes devoted to Bay’s direct action, the film’s impending 2 hour, 16 minute runtime feels like a personal attack.

The suffocating frame is one of Ambulancebut ends up being his greatest weakness thanks to Bay’s reluctance to provide a meaningful break from the action. Dizzying camera movements are now followed by shots so close to Gyllenhaal you can smell his breath, and the characters are left begging to grow in a film determined to move on to the next thing.

Abdul-Mateen II, Gyllenhaal and González aren’t just recognizable faces, they often bring real talent to the table. But while Gyllenhaal is having fun (perhaps having too much fun) as the dastardly dastardly bank robber, most of the actors have nothing to play for. it doesn’t help that Ambulance fumbles its tone with shoehorn jokes and moments of levity that stun viewers with insincerity.

One scene sees Abdul-Mateen II and González struggle to remove a bullet from the wounded officer in the backseat. A protracted surgery where the bank robber and hostage must hastily work together to save a life is the closest Ambulance just found his heart.

Unfortunately, that focus is muddied by the sound of cut corners and gore that feels out of place.


Ambulance. // Courtesy of Universal Pictures.

Missed opportunities return with Keir O’Donnell’s Anson Clark, an FBI agent who steps in to help the Los Angeles Police Department control the situation. O’Donnell is Bay’s first openly gay character, but his sexuality is relegated to nothing more than a cheap joke about rosé and privilege. Ambulance remains another example of Bay’s embarrassing homophobic streak.

For everything Ambulance gets it wrong – which is a lot – it’s perhaps most disappointing as a missed opportunity. Bay’s hot pursuit setup had potential and, in another universe, could have served as a vehicle for his best work. Instead, AmbulanceThe few flashes of interest are swallowed up by the characters, camerawork and pacing that will leave audiences star gazing.

Ambulance is not mind-numbing, it’s just a headache.

But at least he has a dog.

Ambulance national opening on April 8.