The last Michael Bay film I tried to watch was “6 Underground”, and I just couldn’t get into it. I found its camera angles and movement to be nauseating and its pace way too anxious — it made me want to throw up. His latest endeavor, “Ambulance” has more of the same, but past its first act — after Bay gets in all his obnoxious, redundant establishing shots in — he’s reigned in and there’s something of a movie to be enjoyed.
“Ambulance” follows former marine Will Sharp (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), who gets roped into a bank heist by his brother, Danny (Jake Gyllenhaal), in order to pay for experimental surgery for his wife, Amy (Moses Ingram). Their father was a famous bank robber who taught them all that he knew, but Will has tried to stay out of trouble and out of the family business.
The film’s central heist is very similar to that of last year’s “Wrath of Man”, except its character writing is atrocious, its heist is poorly planned out and falls apart almost immediately, and it only serves as a convoluted way for Will and Danny to eventually infiltrate an ambulance operated by EMT Cam Thompson (Eiza González), which carries seriously-injured Officer Zach (Jackson White), whom the brothers shot.
The two hijack the ambulance hoping to escape in it, but are immediately found out by means of bad writing in the script (seriously, the police are given zero reason to be suspicious of the ambulance). As such, most of the film is an incredibly slow-moving police chase as the four are pursued in the ambulance by cops who refuse speed past them, or set blockades ahead of them. It’s established that the police have the means to kill them and stop the ambulance, but are prevented from doing so in fear of harming Officer Zach, so the Sharps are incentivized to keep him alive. It’s not a terrible premise, but it is executed horrendously, with all sorts of ridiculous hijinks happening, in which Will donates blood to Zach while driving and they even perform surgery on Zach’s spleen while consulting surgeons through Zoom.
Garret Dillahunt, Keir O’Donnell and Olivia Stambouliah play characters leading the FBI/LAPD manhunt against the Sharps, and they do try their best with bad material, but it’s not enough, with Dillahunt and O’Donnell’s characters (the police captain and top FBI agent, respectively) being completely redundant and bland.
The movie feels like it was written by a nine-year-old, and at times feels like a live action session of “Grand Theft Auto”, with cops driving recklessly exactly like they do in that game, the ambulance driving on the wrong way of the street like we’ve all done in GTA, and a myriad of examples of cartoon violence that would fit in with that series.
There are bits and pieces of this film that work, but it is nauseatingly-shot, poorly paced and poorly written. It also feels dated, but in a bad way.
I don’t know who this film is for — it’s a little too much, even for the teenagers I think Bay was hoping would flock to this. “Ambulance” is easily the worst film I’ve seen in theaters so far this year, and marks a low point in Bay’s filmography.
“Ambulance” gets a 4/10