Salt (Sony, Blu-ray or standard DVD, PG-13/NR, 100/101/104 min.). This film, directed by Phillip Noyce, is non-stop action for the first hour and, while I may have guessed the overall premise and the bad guy early on, the ride is well worth taking and left me wanting more. Yes, give me a sequel as soon as possible.

This review is of the 104-minute unrated director’s cut on Blu-ray; the disc also contains the 100-minute theatrical version and a 101-minute extended version. It opens in North Korea two years ago, with CIA operative Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie) being tortured during interrogation; however, her husband Michael Krause (August Diehl), a world-famous expert on spiders, manages to get her exchanged for another prisoner. In the present, Salt is about to head home for her anniversary dinner when a Soviet defector shows up and, during his debriefing by Salt, says that back in 1975 the Russians started training children as sleeper agents planted in the United States and one will kill the president of Russia while he is attending the funeral of the U.S. vice president. Further, he says that agent is Evelyn Salt.

From then on, Salt is on the run, trying to find her husband to ensure he is safe, and then seeking revenge. She leaps from truck to truck on the highway and climbs along a 12-story ledge (amazingly, Jolie did all her own stunts, as she says she has a fondness for heights), just to mention two eye-openers. Eventually she does crash the funeral, but that’s only the halfway mark. In this version, which you can watch with an icon popping up to indicate the extra scenes, there is a critical one that presents Salt’s character as much colder and underscores her willingness to do anything. Otherwise, most of the extra minutes are flashbacks, including her first meeting her husband.

Liv Schreiber plays her CIA cohort Ted Winter, while Chiwetal Ejiofer is Peabody from counter intelligence. Including the three versions of the film, extras include 8:05 on Jolie as an action hero; 9:15 on director Noyce, whose father was a spy for Australia; a making-of feature; 12:33 of interviews with real spies; a look at Salt’s different looks in the film; and a spy cam picture-in-picture viewing track. Grade: film 3.5 stars; extras 3.25 stars

The A-Team (Fox, Blu-ray or standard DVD, PG-13/NR, 119/133 min.). Noisy and a bit chaotic, with lots of sarcasm in the characters, this is another film filled with action, but it is more of the variety of what can we do next, and the action does not necessarily serve the plot. If you like to see things blown up, you’ll get your fill and, well, the heroes do ride a tank down from a destroyed airplane even if, by then, all sense of reality has left.

We first see the four main characters while still in the military. They are Liam Neeson as Col. Hannibal Smith, the leader; Bradley Cooper as ladies man Lt. Faceman Peck; Quinton Rampage Jackson as strongman B.A. Baracus (with the Mr. T made-famous Mohawk haircut); and Sharlto Copley as deranged pilot Capt. H.M. Murdock. After a 21-minute opening segment in Mexico, we rejoin the team eight years later, when Saddam’s flunkies have the ability to print U.S. currency due to having printing plates. Although ordered not to go, the quartet does, only to have Pike (Brian Bloom) and his Black Forest team come in at the last minute and steal the plates. The four are believed part of the plot, are court-martialed and imprisoned. However, Smith is broken out by CIA agent Lynch (Patrick Wilson), after he learns the plates are about to be sold in Germany. Smith then frees the others.

I watched the extended cut, so I’m not sure if the theatrical version benefits from being leaner. Extras include an inside-the-action feature on the theatrical cut with director Joe Carnahan; character chronicles; a plan of attack featurette; deleted scenes (not worth much); a gag reel; and a mash-up montage. Grade: film 2 stars: extras 2.5 stars

Rating guide: 5 stars = classic; 4 stars = excellent; 3 stars = good; 2 stars = fair; dog = skip it

Additional reviews are available online at and include “Shrek Forever After” and “Step Up 3.”