If I were a film editor invited to work on a Michael Bay movie, before we started I would demand I get paid one dollar per edit. That would make me an instant millionaire, as “Ambulance” proves.
The entire movie is cut way too fast, with no shot lasting more than three seconds. On top of that, we get ponderous music that never stops, completely unnecessary swooping camera moves, and extreme close-ups on characters in fight scenes so you never have any real perspective on what’s happening. Combine that with a stupid story, shallow characters, and an absolutely predictable outcome, and you have this prime example of a Michael Bay movie experience.
The plot is simple. A bank robbery in downtown Los Angeles goes awry. The cops kill everyone except Danny Sharp (Jake Gyllenhaal) and his half-brother Will (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, from “The Trial Of The Chicago Seven“), who escape by stealing an ambulance that’s on the scene to help a wounded cop. But the brothers don’t just take the ride, they also take the cop and the EMT (Eiza González, from the overrated “Baby Driver” and the underrated “I Care A Lot“) as hostages.
From here, you have about two hours of chase scenes that somehow are never slowed down by LA’s notoriously horrible traffic, with helicopters and a couple dozen police cars in pursuit. This would not be a stereotypical movie chase if the vehicles didn’t smash through some fruit carts, push other vehicles aside, and — in the case of the patrol cars — flip over and/or go flying off various obstacles that the ambulance somehow avoids.
Oh, yeah, there’s also a sequence in which Gyllenhaal and Abdul-Mateen sing Christopher Cross’s yacht-rock classic “Sailing” off-key while racing at high speeds.
You know those times you were in a movie theater and the sound from whatever was playing next door was so loud it drowned out the audio in your auditorium? That’s the fate awaiting anyone who goes to see some quiet film that’s booked next door to wherever this dreck plays.
“Ambulance” is a full hour longer than the Danish movie it’s based on, but Bay had a bigger budget and a lot more things to blow up, knock down, and crash through. In other words, exactly what you’d expect from the man who gave us “Armageddon,” “Pearl Harbor,” and five “Transformers.” And I don’t mean that as a compliment.
I give “Ambulance” a 2 out of 10, which means it will vie for the top spot on my Worst Movies Of 2022 list in December.