Someone call an ambulance for Michael Bay’s new action flick

By Charlie Ambler

Photo: Creative Commons
Michael Bay

Someone call an ambulance, but not for Michael Bay! Because his career is alive and well. 

Upon watching Bay’s latest action movie, Ambulance, I’m sure he will be calmly waiting for his Oscar. Too bad it’s not coming. This is a film that has it all: electrifying dialogue, a brotherly-love story, top-tier cinematography, and a brutally convoluted plot that makes all of those other elements irrelevant.

Michael Bay’s Ambulance, while incredibly entertaining, is just another example of an average action film made in the last decade that can only be described as outrageously bad.

Let’s start with the plot. From the outside, the film seems like a formulaic heist-gone-wrong. Danny Sharp, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, and Will Sharp, played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, share a strong bond on-screen as they try to pull off a major heist in downtown L.A. However, things go astray as the two attempt to flee the scene with a cool $32 million. 

What gives the movie a twist of strong originality–– a requirement action films need to fulfill to set themselves apart nowadays––is that the two brothers don’t escape in a fancy getaway car like an Aston Martin, but something that attracts unwanted attention, an ambulance. On top of that, the two men have to bring along two unexpected guests, the ambulance technician and a dying cop. The audience is battling whose side they are on: the technician, the cop, or the brothers—as graphic footage of the cop, who is bleeding out, continues throughout the film.

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The main anti-hero of the film was played by Jake Gyllenhaal. This man is living proof of the fact that it does not take much for someone to toss away any dignity or respect because of a dollar sign. 

As soon as my good friend Gyllenhaal found out that he could be paid a hefty number for a mediocre role, he jumped at the part! I will say, the role fit him perfectly. His character lived a lavish lifestyle after multiple, successful bank robberies, but that of course wasn’t enough for him. 

Why quit when you are ahead? Why stop acting in decent features when you can get paid for visual and audible vomit? 

What aggravated me the most, was this unadulterated, relentless love that every character seemed to have for the other. Hear me out, I am not trying to say that every character is supposed to be apathetic. But COME ON. They sacrifice everything for this money, only to fall into a love triangle while on the run with a dying cop and EMT as hostages in a stolen ambulance. 

All I could think while watching was how these robbers desperately needed to get their priorities straight. Was the priority the money they just stole or was it the pretty ambulance tech? Was it the dying cop who no character had any explained connection to? Or was it escaping successfully? I am lost. 

Additionally, one would think that when writing a screenplay about a bank heist with an ambulance, someone would know at least the bare minimum about gas mileage on the model used in the film. The F-550 has a gas mileage of around  5.8 AVG MPG. This means that an ambulance going at full speed for close to a full day would have to be refueled … a few times, disregarding the fact that these two brilliant thieves stole the ambulance mid-shift. That bad boy must have had half a tank at the start. Even if we did not know the make and model it’s just as frustrating with anyone with common sense–not that this is the most unrealistic or asinine take we see. 

Something else that stood out to me was how in the Ambulance cinematic universe, driving-sickness doesn’t exist. Throughout the entire film, the chief of police rides along with another officer in the back of a racing police van whilst facing perpendicular to the direction in which the car is traveling. They were reading all sorts of screens and not once did they look to be getting a little motion sick. Really? I couldn’t get through a page of a book on a plane without thinking of feeding the floor below me. 

The greatest scene in the whole movie was when my boy rocking some sporty Birkenstocks got side-swiped by a van. It had me in tears. His legs resembled the spaghetti I had last night.

As the (self-proclaimed) most passionate and enlightened environmental advocate individual in the state of Massachusetts, I would like to highlight the film’s championing of major environmental issues. 

From the very beginning of the film, they advocated for safer options when it comes to clothing and material goods. As aforementioned, one of the bank robbers decided to wear Birkenstocks during their big boy mission to break the bank! Good on him, Birkenstocks are some of the most environmental sustainability options for footwear on the market. 

Any viewer—and Birkenstocks wearer—knew this robber was feeling good on his feet during those long hours at the bank holding his gun. Most of those men will develop a serious foot cramp during the long wait for the teller to bring out the cash, but not our friend with the Birkenstocks. With that sole support, he could go home knowing that he had millions in cash, and saved a little piece of the environment by doing it. 

What Michael Bay should have done was reduce the use of computer-generated effects. CGI takes lots of computer power, and as you may know, less electricity means less emissions. 

The film was jam-packed with constant explosions, gunfights, and car crashes, all of which would have been more compelling and environmentally friendly if they decided to go with practical effects. 

Not to mention, if Bay and his team decided to blow up half the cars in L.A., they would have solved the gas crisis in the nation. The only issue that the producers would find was all that rubble, metal, and whatever was left of all those cars. But that is why we have recycling! 

On a very grounded level, this film delivered something rare. This film gave viewers a  (Berkeley) beacon of hope. If filmmakers and producers can sit down and pay $40 million dollars to make this unflinching film, then you can secure that job at The New York Times. You can do anything you put your mind to. 

The blatant disregard of common sense in this film is a feat of its own. However, at the end of the day, this film was not made by accident. The brains behind the film (or lack thereof) intentionally did all of this. If they can get away with it, you can get away with a lot of things– maybe even $35 million from a downtown L.A. bank?

If this review confused you, then you have had the Ambulance experience, hope you enjoyed it.