What do you get when you have a bank heist gone wrong, over-dramatic music and a car chase that includes an ambulance and what appears to be a whole city of bumbling cops? Of course, the latest Michael Bay film Ambulance. The movie follows two brothers who are looking for a major score for very different reasons and what happens when one of them makes the wrong decision to divert from the plan and lets a cop into the bank as they’re in the middle of the heist. Sound ridiculous enough yet? We’ve just started.
So the premise of a car chase with an Ambulance is a bit ridiculous, and even if the rig was run on diesel fuel, it would have run out of gas well into the chase. No, they never stop to refuel, but the truck doesn’t overheat and just keeps going and going. Instead, at fast speeds through nearly empty Los Angeles streets (possibly one of the most unbelievable parts of the movie), as the brothers keep running into dead ends created by the cops and several other agencies that are tossed in without regard for audience understanding.
Ambulance is dipped in testosterone and the only female characters that are really mentioned are the wife who needs surgery and supports her husband no matter what, the tech who’s short with every man she meets and you quickly forget her name and the tough as nails EMT tech – who despite being held hostage is “saved” by the experience. Very clearly written by men, Ambulance only focuses on the importance of the main characters and the cops that they seem to have no regard for their lives, or really, anyone at all.
But that’s still not the major issue with Ambulance, instead, the fact that they pull out every racial stereotype to portray the gangs through LA might be one of the ones that bother us the most. Feeding into the tropes of Hollywood throughout the whole film, these “gang members” not only act like they were written for a bad 50’s crime drama but play into every bad scenario you could expect.
And while some movies like the Oceans series make use of some of some con-artist tactics in their chase scenes like the shell game – Ambulance completely forgets that all emergency vehicles have their number displayed on top so they can be tracked from the air. So, even if the spray paint plan had worked, their bus would have been identified quickly and easily from the cons.
Instead, the movie seems hell-bent on killing as many cops as possible in ridiculous ways as well as destroying cop cars in new and inventive ways. We can only imagine what the stunt budget was for this film.
Are we thinking too deeply in an action film that is there just for fun? Possibly, but one if not all of these issues can make the movie unwatchable – and when a movie comes in well over two hours, the audience may ask itself why they’re watching such a ridiculous movie. Being ridiculous on it’s own is not a problem, but when so many of these glaring issues hit the screen in one movie – it might make you wonder just who greenlit this.
Ambulance is in theaters today and is a good popcorn flick. It doesn’t require a lot of thinking, and at times is actually is quite laughable. But if you’re into fast-paced chase movies that may not exactly be rooted in reality, you’re going to enjoy it even with its flaws.
Over one day across the streets of L.A., three lives will change forever. In this breakneck thriller from director-producer Michael Bay, decorated veteran Will Sharp ( Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) desperate for money to cover his wife’s medical bills, asks for help from the one person he knows he shouldn’t-his adoptive brother Danny ( Jake Gyllenhaal). A charismatic career criminal, Danny instead offers him a score: the biggest bank heist in Los Angeles history: $32 million. With his wife’s survival on the line, Will can’t say no.
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Eiza González
Directed by Michael Bay