Michael Bay, when you hear that name many feelings rise. The majority of them are negative in my case since I don’t believe he’s made a genuinely decent film in possibly a decade. When you see his name on a project you can expect several boxes to be ticked. These boxes include; over the top acting, career poor performances from usually great actors, over the top explosions, absurd camera angles and last but by no means least, police porn. Does his latest film Ambulance tick any of these boxes? Oh yes, yes it does.
Ambulance is a thriller that follows siblings Danny (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Will (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) as they try and escape from the police after a bank robbery gone wrong. They take hostage of EMT Cam (Eiza González) and her patient while on the run and hijack her ambulance. What ensues is a high stakes chase across the many, many streets and highways of L.A.
Californian dreaming that turns into a nightmare
Ambulance is a terrible film. Every “Bayism” is in full effect in this film. From cringe-inducing dialogue to characters name dropping previous films of his to nauseating camera choices, nothing is sacred in this film. The film actually has the audacity to open with Yahya’s character Will with something resembling a human moment.
Will is a down and out retired marine. He can’t get a stable job, the insurance won’t cover his wife’s experimental surgery (we never find out what this mysterious disease is by the way) and so he heads to his dubious brother Danny for help. Danny immediately gives off red flags when he enters like a supervillain. Gyllenhaal plays Danny with the charisma of a rabid dog. At first, you think he’s fine but as the film goes on and he yells 90% of his dialogue you realise this puppy needs to be put down. Eiza’s character Cam is a hardened EMT who doesn’t seem to care about her patients, no real reason is given which is a gaping hole in her character. She has a decent character journey with Will and Danny and rounds out this trinity well.
Who told Michael Bay about drones!?
Ambulance is filled with so many atrocities I don’t even know where to begin. I suppose one of the most egregious elements of this film is that Bay shamelessly tries to replicate the famous shootout in Heat. The problem in doing this is that there’s none of the buildup, the anticipation or style. There is also another major difference. Bay has now found out about drones and uses them to terrifying effect.
He uses drones to film the events of Ambulance in a confusing, and to some people that I talked to nauseating fashion. Drones can spin, go into tight corners, underneath previously inaccessible areas and are completely expendable, unlike human cameramen. This is a fascinating design and does lead to some innovative camera angles until Bay overuse them. There are moments in this film where for no reason a drone will fly up and building and then down the building again as it makes a highspeed U-turn.
Ambulance to me is the worst film of the year. There are no characters just caricatures, there is no real story simply a collection of tropes mixed with the ideas of better directors. I could go on about this film but I won’t. I will simply say stay away from this film.
Stay tuned to Scannain for more news, reviews and interviews.