WHERE TO WATCH:
WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
Needing money to cover his wife's medical bills, a decorated veteran teams up with his adoptive brother to steal $32 million from a Los Angeles bank. However, when their getaway goes spectacularly wrong, the desperate thieves hijack an ambulance.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
Our world has been surreal of late, like a post-apocalyptic disaster film. We're two years into a deadly pandemic, and a devastating war is currently raging in Europe. This has caused havoc on economies worldwide and has impacted every single one of us in one way or another.
Before World War I, American cinema was barely on the map as Europe dominated the industry. But that all changed during the war when European film production shut down and American cinema flourished - leading the way until today still.
Cinema offers two very different things to an audience who are collectively experiencing trauma on a massive scale. Firstly, it can act as a tool to highlight, inform, or explain a crisis. At the start of the pandemic, disaster films topped charts on streaming services and viewers flooded to these fictional storylines looking for answers on how to deal with an unprecedented event on this global scale. They also found comfort in knowing others were doing the same.
The second valuable purpose of cinema during a crisis is that it offers escapism. When the walls around us are closing in, we need a way out of it – even if just for a few hours. This brings me to Ambulance. The film is directed by Michael Bay, whose work includes epics like Armageddon and massive flops like the Transformers series. In my opinion, there's no in-between when it comes to a Michael Bay movie. It will either be a proper hit or a full-fledged disaster.
As a massive Jake Gyllenhaal fan, I was nervous to see him take on a Bay project. But it's with great relief that, in my opinion, Ambulance is a sure-fire hit. It is guaranteed to blow audiences out of their seats and catapult them into another dimension with high-octane action and gut-punching thrills. Expect absolute pandemonium without the artificial help of CGI - Bay keeps it real when it comes to blowing up cars and throwing people through glass windows.
I watched Ambulance in Nu Metro's Scene Xtreme, which boasts the largest screens in the country and 3D audio pumping out of about 50 speakers. This undoubtedly enhanced my viewing experience. I held onto my seat like a madman as brothers Danny (Gyllenhaal) and William Sharp (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) took the cops on a wild, high-speed chase in an ambulance. All this while more action was unfolding in and outside of the ambulance simultaneously.
It was like watching Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves in Speed, with some Denzel Washington in John Q added to the mix, and a heart-stopping sprinkle of Grey's Anatomy medical tension. This is wrapped up in an epic story with more twists and turns than the highways in Los Angeles.
Another highlight was the diverse cast and characters – like an openly gay FBI agent (Keir O'Donnell) and fierce female lieutenant (Olivia Stambouliah) who doesn't take shit from anyone. Gyllenhaal and Abdul-Mateen are the perfect yin and yang in a flick that teeters between good and evil. The duo's chemistry is unbelievable, and their performances faultless.
Ambulance had me crumbling in my seat with nerves; it sparked stressed-induced swearing, spontaneous clapping due to build-up tension, hiding behind hands in shock, and covering my head as I dodged the explosive drama. I left the cinema with that lingering after-movie buzz.
This flick is like a punch in the face, and then another, and another, and another, and another, and another. Pow! Pow! Pow!
Damn! I want to watch it again!