Ambulance – Chicago Reader

Ambulance is a Michael Bay film to its core, an engine revved nearly beyond its limits, that somehow manages to stay together and crash stunningly into its destination.

Former marine Will Sharp (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) is in desperate need of money to cover experimental surgery for his wife. Lured by the prospect of a big payday, he teams up with his adopted brother Danny (Jake Gyllenhaal) to knock off $32 million from a Los Angeles bank. When the heist goes wrong, Will and Danny hijack an ambulance carrying EMT Cam Thompson (Eiza González) and a wounded cop. Attempting to keep everyone alive and escape the law that’s hot on their tails, our trio takes an unyieldingly unmoored ride across the city of Los Angeles.

The film is a tribute to the heroism of EMTs done Bay style, with an extra dash of explosions on the side. It’s easily Bay’s best work in several years, refusing to slow down its frenetic pace for even a moment. A proponent of action maximalism, more is more for Bay, who not only goes over the top with chaotic cinematography, explosive set pieces, and the cranked-up-to-11 Gyllenhaal performance, but also throws in enough side-plot details and self-referential moments to fill an entirely separate film. There’s even amateur trauma surgery, directed via FaceTime, by surgeons on a golf course while in the back of a speeding ambulance.

Does everything in the film make sense? Absolutely not. Do most of the plot elements even stand up to scrutiny? Not really. But, when you’re hurtling towards the future with bags full of cash and sirens at your back, sometimes good sense is the last thing you need. R, 136 minutes.

Wide release in theaters

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