Will (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) is a highly-skilled ex-veteran. In the present day, Los Angeles, Will is doing everything he can to pay his wife’s medical bills as she has cancer. Left with no other choice, he decides to speak to his adoptive brother Danny (Jake Gyllenhaal) about money, even though Will’s wife tells him to avoid it. When Will seeks help from Danny, we discover there is more to Danny than meets the eye. Danny is heavily involved in several criminal activities.
Danny has been planning the ultimate robbery heist and invites Will to join him. This heist will allow them to earn (steal) enough money to cover all of Will’s bills with cash leftover. Feeling there are no other choices available to him, Will accepts Danny’s offer. Along with a small team, the two rob a bank loaded with up to thirty-two million dollars in cash. Everything is going perfectly fine with the robbery until one visitor makes everything go awry. Soon Will and Danny are on the run and hijack a nearby Ambulance complete with a patient and a nurse named Cam (Eiza González), who are now both hostages. Now, Will and Danny will do everything they can within their power to survive the day and get away from the police once and for all.
It’s no secret that Director Michael Bay loves making wild action films. But when it comes to Bay, his last few films have been ever so disappointing. Here, Bay is going back to what feels like his original 90s roots. I’m proud to say Ambulance is an entertaining action film with unpredictable outcomes.
Performances are great, especially from the two leads played by Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. The two leads convince us they have a strong past and history in their family upbringing, and it’s clear they would do anything to protect each other at all costs. Jake Gyllenhaal is having a blast here. I enjoyed seeing the actor exuding a charming, likeable presence in one scene and flipping his personality to a completely ruthless, crazy criminal within seconds. Eiza González is great as Cam and delivers intense and dramatic moments; however, I can’t deny that her character is written with familiar and cliché characteristics.
Regarding action, everything on display is thrilling, loud, and exciting. The film contains many cars getting smashed along with various shootouts, and the list goes on. The action metre here is certainly high and doesn’t disappoint. The visuals are strong, mostly clear, and great to see. Bay has reintroduced the use of slow-motion during action scenes, along with a new style we’ve yet to see from him. Aerial and drone filming help give this film a true rollercoaster experience.
While action scenes are jaw-dropping and strong, I can’t deny that I struggled with the Director’s filming style during certain key scenes, which feel like they were done with a shaky handheld camera. I understand this type of film style or technique is used in action films to create a strong level of realism, but some shots I couldn’t handle watching. I even had to close my eyes several times as I felt like I was riding a rough ride at a local theme park. I accept this issue is more of a personal choice, but it’s still worth noting for those not overly fond of it. Like most Michael Bay films, the Director forces a few comedic moments. This is hit and miss; plus, the Director enjoys making fun of previous films he has directed such as Bad Boys, which only made me groan due to the level of corniness.
Overall, Michael Bay has delivered a film that feels like a solid flick from the ’90s. Leading performances from both Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II are highly convincing, and the two are terrific when they share the screen. As always, given the Director, the action scenes do not disappoint. Car smashes and various gun shootouts reminded me of films such as Heat from 1995. While moments of action are highly entertaining and wild, some key scenes are filmed in a shaky handheld style, which sadly pushed me to close my eyes at various times. Some gags don’t work either and have a high level of cheesiness. For the most part, this is certainly an action-packed film that hits strongly, being both entertaining and brainless, which is highly welcomed.