Ambulance | Third Space


Wed 6 Apr 2022
Hold on... was that Michael Bay's best film that just raced by?

3.5 out of 5 stars

Whenever the name Michael Bay is mentioned regarding a new film project, most will expect a certain number of explosions, bullets and even a few robots for good measure. He is a director who has made his fortune and reputation with action films that include his unique visual touch. Yet, it has been a while since we had any Bayhem occur on screens. Until it was announced, he would be remaking a classic Danish film, Ambulance starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.

A storyline that seems ideal for Bay’s style, where a bank robbery goes wrong and the two lead suspects hijack an ambulance as an escape. Interestingly, this screenplay involves more drama than expected. The lead actors do more than run from one explosion to the next. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Candyman) plays Will Sharp, a Marine and war veteran struggling to find the money to pay for his wife’s medical needs. This leads him to reach out to his adoptive brother and a life-long criminal to potentially loan him the funds. Instead, Danny (Gyllenhaal) enlists his sibling to assist with a $32 million bank heist. It is a high-risk situation that has the potential for substantial rewards if they can pull off the job.

As would be expected, things go pear-shaped for the crew when a rookie cop unexpectedly crashes the robbery. When the police officer is shot and placed in an ambulance, Danny and Will manage to commandeer the vehicle with the ailing officer and an unsuspecting EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) on board. Cam (Eiza González) must do all she can to keep the patient alive while the robbers try to figure out their next move. As they race through the streets of Los Angeles, the Special Investigation Section (SIS) strategise to determine how to save their injured colleague while apprehending the thieves driving the ambulance.

What eventually unfolds is a combination of Speed and Heat as it would be put through the mind of Michael Bay. This one is surprisingly special compared to the majority of this famed director’s previous works. Simply, it is good. Not to say that it does not have a wealth of explosions, car accidents and bullets. Still, the three lead actors deliver powerful performances that keep the claustrophobic atmosphere of the emergency vehicle believable and engaging. Jake Gyllenhaal manages to channel his sociopathic persona last seen in Nightcrawler. He manages to walk the line between charm and being a homicidal maniac who does show that he loves his brother, despite showing it bizarrely.

Along with exceptional work from Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Eiza González, the absolute master of this film is the man behind the camera, Bay himself. Even though he manages to get his actors to deliver, Bay does not hold back on showing what has defined his career. His slick and frenetic cinematography and pacing complement this storyline beautifully. Harkening back to The Rock, this interpretation pays homage to the original film, but leaves unrecognisable in the end. Michael Bay still delivers what his fans would come to expect, while showing that he is maturing and improving on his craft. As a celebration of the work of first responders, Ambulance proves to be one of his best films, if not the best of his career.

Reel Dialogue: The bond of brothers

How do you explain the connection between brothers? Sure, there is something special between all siblings and family, but brothers have an inexplicable bond. One of those things can only be explained and experienced by boys who grow to be men. The relationship of the Sharp brothers captures this bond without having to use too many words. These men were committed to one another despite the challenges that came the way that should have divided them.

There is a reason that Jesus used the word brotherhood as a means of defining the relationships among his disciples. When someone becomes a follower of Christ, they are considered brothers. This is a brotherhood that is meant to develop strong relationships built on forgiveness, sacrifice, and brotherly love.

For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.” - Hebrews 2:11-12

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