Before Michael Bay’s mad dash through the streets of LA, Ambulancen was filmed in the Danish countryside.
With Ambulancereleased last Wednesday at the cinema, Michael Bay returns to the staging of action sequences that he handles to perfection. The director of transformers and of No Pain No Gain films Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Eiza Gonzalez embarked on a mad chase through the streets of Los Angeles, following a bank robbery that goes wrong and pushes its two protagonists to take hostage a young nurse who tries to maintain alive a wounded man on a stretcher. A starting point straight out of a Danish film, ambulance, released in cinemas in 2005. A thriller of barely 1h20, which can be viewed on Netflix and which ultimately has little to do with its Hollywood remake of 2h17. And for good reason: Bay did not see the original version of Laurits Munch-Petersen before embarking on the filming of this more muscular version. If the initial director is well quoted in the credits as being at the origin of the initial idea, the screenwriter Chris Fedak (known for the series chuck) is quite far from it.
Michael Bay – Ambulance: “The police love my films, I don’t really know why”
In Ambulancethe character of Yahya Abdul-Mateen II tries to save his sick wife, where that of Thomas Bo Larsen (seen since in many local productions, from The hunt at Drunk, with Mads Mikkelsen), was struggling to raise enough money to hospitalize his mother in a private hospital, in the hope that she would be better cared for. This may seem like a detail, but it actually makes the character of this new version much more endearing than his “model”who immediately lost: his mother being presented as condemned, he is quickly perceived as an obstinate robber, ready to endanger his own life, but also that of his brother (Paw Henriksen, seen in revenge, by Suzanne Bier) and their hostages to go through with his particularly flawed plan. Changing the dynamic between the two (anti?)heroes (the first plays a war veteran who commits mischief for a good reason, his brother played by Gyllenhaal is first shown as a mad dog, who calms down little during their misadventures) offers them a more complete portrait in the new version. Making the dying victim in the back of the vehicle a policeman is also a clever way of justifying the fact that the police will pursue the ambulance without trying to shoot its occupants, where the original version relied on the heart attack of a lambda type and led to reversals of situations that were not always credible.
Because Ambulance is full of twists, the unexpected decisions and reactions of its protagonists allowing to play with the expectations of the spectator. “Ambulancein reality, has you to wear, do we write in our review of the Michael Bay blockbuster. The film operates on a pure principle of inflation and entropy. The longer the better.” Unfortunately, in ambulance, it’s kind of the other way around. If the starting point is enticing, and the first setbacks of the duo raise the pressure well, the evolution of the characters piles up too many clichés thereafter to be really gripping. Some screenplay choices are even so far-fetched that all these twists and turns end up boring. We are surprised to look at his watch while the film is an hour less than its remake. Remake whose strong point is obviously its action scenes, where the staging of its model, not having the same means as a Hollywood blockbuster, often struggles to keep the public in suspense.
There remain convinced actors, and an effective beginning of romance between the young brother and the courageous nurse (Helle Fagralid, a face known to the spectators of The Killing), an idea little exploited in the 2022 blockbuster. Careful at heart, she tries at all costs to save the life of her patient, even if it means risking her own, then she even manages to heal the wounds of her taker. hostages, realizing that he let himself get caught up in this misadventure somewhat in spite of himself. Some crazy ideas (the consumption of “spacecake” which blurs the driver’s vision, “pee break” usually prohibited in this kind of chase) play in a funny way with the concept, making this thriller switch several times in the genre of black comedy. A curiosity to discover, therefore, even if you will have understood it, we prefer for once its American remake, much crazier and inspired.
Ambulance: Michael Bay criticizes the digital effects of his own film