Ambulance is a thrilling new heist film that will hold your attention from start to finish. While providing an edge-of-your-seat experience, the Bayness of it all might cause a headache. Ambulance has what you’d expect from a Michael Bay film, jarring editing, loud explosions, and a subpar screenplay. Luckily, the talent involved helps keep Ambulance entertaining through all of the endless chaos.
This action-packed film follows war veteran Will Sharp, who needs money to handle his spouse’s medical bills. Seeking help from his brother, Danny leads to a bank heist worth $32 million. Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen star as the brotherly duo with Eiza Gonzales joining them during their thrilling ambulance ride. While Danny is more of a villain, his connection to Will acts as an emotional wrench for Will’s progression.
Audiences are expected to understand Will’s (Abdul-Mateen) motivations for participating in the heist but makes it difficult to feel sympathy for the character. The respect the character gets begins and ends with his veteran status. Sure, he wants to keep helping his family, but this isn’t the appropriate way. Ambulance tremendously highlights how good people can make bad decisions when desperate.
Mateen’s performance allowed me to feel more sympathetic toward the character. Will is a devoted husband, brother, and unfortunately let his devotion inspire a bad decision. Ambulance is more concerned with getting the major characters trapped in an ambulance, so their development mostly occurs during the action-packed police chase. It’s clear that Will just wants to get home to his family, but doesn’t want to let his brother down either. This struggle in his mind allows you to understand where he is coming from, and forgive his participation in this heist.
Chris Fedak’s screenplay explores several important themes, such as forgiveness, which plays a huge factor in the film’s resolution. Ambulance includes some awful dialogue and is longer than it should be, but handles its characters well for the most part. Will and Danny have a bond that I wanted to see more of. Danny’s criminal ways make him unlikeable, but Gyllenhaal is having a blast in the role. The urgency of the narrative grows tiresome due to it never letting up.
Quick cuts and questionable editing will wear you out before the film has concluded. Impressive action sequences are welcome, just not with this frantic editing job Ambulance opts for. Certain conversations and action sequences become incoherent due to the abysmal editing. The action grows dull upon realizing there are no plans of ceasing any time soon. Overwhelming drone shots help maintain its appeal, allowing you to become glued to the destruction on screen.
Sadly, Ambulance starts to resemble a lot of pointless noise that overstays its welcome. The shaky-cam makes the action sequences unbearable at times and the pacing doesn’t allow the film to breathe. One highlight of the cinematography is that Ambulance does a great job at making you feel like you’re on a rollercoaster. The only problem with that is this rollercoaster is over 2 hours long. Gyllenhaal and Abdul-Mateen deliver strong performances despite the material being underwhelming. It was their chemistry that won me over in the end, which is why I enjoyed the film more than I should have.
Ambulance won’t be remembered as one of the best action films, which is fine because Bay has done better. While it keeps your attention, it just doesn’t have the best results overall. A much better film could have existed, but the talent involved is making the best of what was presented. Ambulance is a fast-paced Bay epic that overstays its welcome while putting you through the wringer.