To me "Salt" feels like a cross between "The Manchurian Candidate" with "Mission: Impossible" style action but with a female hero rather than a male. Now on one hand that makes it derivative, it is simply familiar in style to other action movies but it is also on a par with these action movies delivering entertaining and occasionally thrilling action sequences all with a sense of escapism. But there is more to "Salt" than just this, the element of shall we say ingenuity as we learn that Russians have been training 100s of children to be agents, implanted as US citizens who when grown up will be called into action. It's a nice idea which adds an element of ambiguity to lift this familiar action movie but one which come the end isn't such a huge surprise.
2 years after having been brutally tortured in North Korea Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie - Wanted) is one of the CIA's top agents reporting to her superior and friend Ted Winter (Liev Schreiber - X-Men Origins: Wolverine). But her life is turned upside down when a Russian defector shows up and explains that Russians have been training children to be agents who over the years have been implanted in the US and Evelyn is one of them who is to assassinate the Russian President. Forced to go on the run Evelyn has all the agencies on her tail especially as she does go after the Russian President.
Here is the thing about "Salt" it is 75% maybe more derivative as it is in style and content an action movie where we have someone on the run, jumping onto moving vehicles, putting on disguises etc etc. I mentioned "Mission: Impossible" earlier but I could add James Bond and Jason Bourne because for the most this is a movie all about the action. And in fairness it works, the action is well paced and exciting enough with Angelina Jolie delivering some nice looking fight scenes. There were times when it felt like the action could have been elaborated on a bit more to add something new but as an action movie it is solid.
But then there is that other side to "Salt" and that is the semi-clever "The Manchurian Candidate" type element as we have this idea of Russia having trained young children to be agents to be implanted into America at a young age to be called upon later on in life to complete a mission. Now remembering that "Salt" is a movie about escapism and action rather than realism it works and you start to think that maybe that could happen. But it also makes you begin to wonder who is who which is the entire point, yes it is hard to believe that Jolie would be cast as a bad girl but as for the rest you do have that slight element of maybe they are Russian agents trained as a child. It is a nice element to make "Salt" more than just another action movie.
Now as already mentioned Angelina Jolie does a nice job in "Salt" she looks comfortable as an action chick and whilst it is hard to disguise her natural beauty this isn't Jolie playing it sexy. But "Salt" is very much a movie which is about Jolie so whilst there is also Liev Schreiber and Chiwetel Ejiofor in significant roles there characters seem to be a bit too derivative which in some ways may be a good thing.
What this all boils down to is that "Salt" is a nice bit of action escapism which delivers familiar action elements but with a nice twist on a story of an agent on a run. It is what it is and whilst it is entertaining with Angelina Jolie doing a good job as an action chick it isn't anything really special.