Earlier this year, we saw Jake Gyllenhaal at work on Michael Bay’s new movie, Ambulance, which is now set for release in February 2022. February isn’t the death knell it once was, though it’s still not a confidence builder. Does Michael Bay need the boost, though? His movies are exactly what they say on the tin. Ambulance, for instance, is about a couple of bank robbers who carjack an ambulance while trying to flee the cops. See? Exactly what it says! The trailer is pure, classic Bayhem, with lots of beauty shots of helicopters swooping around the speeding ambulance, beauty shots of car crashes, beauty shots of explosions, beauty shots of bloody bodies, beauty shots of men holding guns—just a lot of beauty shots of high-testosterone things, in general.
That includes a lot of beauty shots of Jake Gyllenhaal, which is just every regular shot of Jake Gyllenhaal. Say what you want about Michael Bay—I’m generally not a fan but the man knows how to compose a shot, and he knows when he’s photographing something beautiful. The close-ups and shaky-cam I can do without, but there is a lot of cinematic framing of Jake G, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Eiza Gonzalez. Clearly, Bay knows how incredibly good-looking his cast is, and he focused his cameras accordingly. As for the plot, Gyllenhaal and Abdul-Mateen play bank robbers involved in a robbery gone wrong. Gonzalez is an EMT in the ambulance they commandeer. The movie looks like one long car chase, which I am fine with. This is what Michael Bay does best, and the plot seems simple enough to not get in the way of the action.
Lainey wondered what the appeal of this movie was to Gyllenhaal, who spent most of the 2010s doing interesting, character-driven work outside the mainstream, but I think I see it. He gets to play a charismatic outlaw, and bank robbers have a long cinematic history of Cool Guy characters that he gets to join. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II gets to play the reluctant bad guy who is really the good guy, and Eiza Gonzalez is, maybe, not just eye candy. Michael Bay is not known for his positive handling of female characters—or actresses, see also: Megan Fox—but at least nothing about Gonzalez’s presence in the trailer seems egregious. Also, Abdul-Mateen’s character is a veteran in a jam, with the implication that America isn’t doing enough for him after his service ended. Bay taking on veterans’ issues, even obliquely, is interesting coming from a guy who built his career on military propaganda. Is this growth from Michael Bay?