Now I wish I could say I came up with the phrase “BAYHEM” as it is the perfect description for anything Michael Bay touches. You come for the absolute chaos and insanity that Michael Bay is known for, however that is usually where the anticipation and excitement end, especially recently. The Transformers movies are not known for their plots or even performances, but they still became wild box office smashes. For some reason, however, AmbuLAnce absolutely tanked at the box office and is unlike other Bayhem projects. AmbuLAnce contains a solid plot, some great performances, and signature Michael Bay style. So, whether this be your first visit or a revisit, strap yourself in and prepare for the most insane action piece you will see this year.
The film focuses on Will Sharp (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) as he is trying everything he can to get through everyday life. He is a war veteran and his wife needs a surgery he cannot possibly afford while trying to raise their child. He meets up with his old war buddy, Danny Sharp (Jake Gyllenhaal) who’s sympathetic to Will’s situation and suggests robbing a bank to get the funds for the surgery and doing one last job so they can both ride off into the sunset. Clearly things go haywire and they have to improvise after a cop gets shot. In Danny’s infinite wisdom he decides to hijack the ambulance containing the cop and paramedic Cam Thompson (Eiza Gonzalez).
While AmbuLAnce provides a very standard script for a heist movie, it is the performances that truly shine through all of the mayhem and chaos that is presented on screen. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II brings a very restrained and heartfelt performance to the forefront. His character is down on his luck and just wants his family to survive, pushing him to go against his own moral compass and ideology because the government put him between a rock and a hard place. His first mistake was going to his partner, Danny, who Jake Gyllenhaal embodies in arguably his most unhinged performance to date. If you saw Jake as Mister Music in John Mulaney and The Sack Lunch Bunch comedy special, then you’re fully aware of how unhinged and truly demonic Gyllenhaal can get, however in his performance in AmbuLAnce, he takes the dial to Spinal Tap, cranks it to 11, and goes off the absolute rails, and it is magnificent.
There is so much to love about AmbuLAnce and, I for one, am disappointed in myself that I did not see this peak of cinematic chaos on the largest loudest screen I could. However, watching the Blu-Ray of AmbuLAnce at home certainly did not disappoint. Now I am not an audiophile; I do not have a setup past my Sony XBR65850E and my Samsung 4K UHD player, but I was so impressed at the quality of this Blu-Ray disk. This disk is phenomenal. It sounds impeccable making all the tv’s internal sound system work to its max and the picture quality is absolutely crystal clear. I usually am one to “future proof” and always insist on buying the 4K, so if you’re okay spending the extra few dollars to get the 4K UHD-Blu-Ray-Digital combo pack then absolutely, no questions asked, get the combo pack. However, if you’re not inclined to spend the steep price on the 4K, especially if it is just for “future proofing”, then the Blu-Ray will absolutely suffice. And if you have a home audio system setup (seething with envy over here), prepare for a disk that you will show off to all of your friends for a high quality adrenalated experience.
The special features on AmbuLAnce are a few featurettes, first of which is the quintessential featurette in my opinion titled “Bayhem.” It features the cast and crew discussing what the experience is like working with the visionary of madness, the phantom of the paradise one could say, as he creates his signature Bayhem. The next feature is called “Pedal to the Metal,” which is as it sounds — a behind the scenes look at the car chases created throughout AmbuLAnce. Our next featurette is “Aerial Assault,” which looks at how some of the shots through the movie were created and captured. Next is “Finding Ambulance,” which talks to cast and crew about what drew them to the project initially. The second to last featurette is entitled “Chase Capital of the World,” which is, again, a cast and crew discussion of how the streets of LA became a secondary character in the final product of AmbuLAnce. Lastly for the features though, is a “A Tribute to First Responders” which has Jake Gyllenhaal and Eiza Gonzalez talk about the respect and admiration they have for first responders.
While some of the features are better than others, they each are meant for a different audience, almost. If a feature had to be recommended based on desire, the Bayhem is legitimately for anyone who just wants to know how Michael Bay’s mind works essentially, while the rest of the features are more behind-the-scenes types that show the making of and creation of AmbuLAnce, while “A Tribute to First Responders” is just a touching note to the heroes of the world.
Ambulance Bonus Features:
- BAYHEM – Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Eiza González and crew discuss what it’s like to work on a Michael Bay set as viewers watch the legend himself masterfully conduct the mayhem.
- PEDAL TO THE METAL – A look at how Michael Bay took his car chase craft to a whole other level for Ambulance.
- AERIAL ASSAULT – Learn how the breath-taking, heart-stopping aerial images in AMBULANCE were captured.
- FINDING AMBULANCE* – Filmmakers and cast discuss the genesis of Ambulance and what drew them to the project.
- CHASE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD* – Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Eiza González and crew discuss how LA’s endless miles of highways and sprawling streets became a character in the film and the perfect location for Ambulance.
- A TRIBUTE TO FIRST RESPONDERS – Jake Gyllenhaal and Eiza González talk about their growing understanding, respect, and gratitude for first responders.
*Exclusive to 4K UHD and Blu-ray™
Available on digital May 23rd, 2022.
Available on 4K UHD, Blu-Ray, and DVD June 14th, 2022.
For more information, head to the official Universal Pictures AmbuLAnce website.
Final (Film) Score 3.5 out of 5.
Final (Home Release) Score 4 out of 5.