Two robbers steal an ambulance after their heist goes awry.
Michael Bay’s latest explosionathon is the simply titled ‘Ambulance’, an action thriller about a bank heist gone wrong that leads to two of the men hijacking an ambulance, complete with a paramedic and a severely injured police officer (who one of them previously shot). A series of high octane chase sequences follow as the hijacked ambulance attempts to stay ahead of the cops, whilst ensuring their valuable hostages remain alive throughout the ordeal. For the most part it’s tense and gripping with some brilliantly staged set pieces, and this is comfortably one of Bay’s best films in some time, showing that he remains one of the best in the business at crafting bombastic action sequences.
‘Ambulance’ stars Jake Gyllenhaal at his wired and manic best as Danny Sharp, a career criminal, alongside Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as his adopted brother Will Sharp, a soldier who has been roped into Danny’s scheme against his will to an extent. Will needs the money to pay for an expensive operation his wife needs (motive!), whilst Danny does this stuff for a living. We also have brief introductions to a couple of paramedics (Eiza González, Colin Woodell) and a couple of cops (Jackson White, Cedric Sanders) before the action begins. It’s a simple set up and very little time is wasted before the bank heist begins, and whilst it’s not quite ‘Heat’, it is an effectively thrilling sequence.
For the first hour and a half this is gripping, edge of your seat entertainment, but it does start to wear out its welcome as we head into the final act as the contrivances start to rack up. Unsurprisingly for Michael Bay, he bites off more than he can chew and I could feel myself slowly moving from being fully invested to looking forward to it ending. Aside from the obvious, we have a couple of other references that make it clear this is a Michael Bay movie, namely characters mentioning previous Michael Bay movies in conversation although admittedly the references to ‘The Rock’ are pretty funny.
For all I have some reservations, ‘Ambulance’ is a fun action movie with the emphasis squarely on the fun, and for the most part I found it delivered. It’s helped by Gyllenhaal’s unhinged performance, balanced by Gonzalez and Abdul-Mateen II, and for some solid action escapism, ‘Ambulance’ more than hits the mark.
Directed By: Michael Bay
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Eiza González, Garret Dillahunt, Keir O’Donnell, Jackson White, Olivia Stambouliah, Moses Ingram, Colin Woodell, Cedric Sanders, A Martinez, Jesse Garcia and Wale Folarin