The last time that filmmaker Michael Bay tried to capture his signature “Bayhem” on screen, it was for Netflix and the high-octane Ryan Reynolds vehicle 6 Underground. Next February, however, Bay is coming back the big screen (where he belongs, if we’re being honest) for an explosive new thriller set in Los Angeles over the course of one incredibly tense day. The film is called Ambulance, and we just got our very first look at the movie during the Universal Studios panel at CinemaCon in Las Vegas. Here’s what was shown!
Ambulance will star two actors who’ve been at this for a while, but have yet to dive into the world of Bay. Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II hold down the two leads on Ambulance, playing brothers from different mothers who seem to be estranged, but are pulled back together for a difficult situation. Mateen’s character’s wife is in dire need of a surgery, which he can’t afford, even though he served his country loyally as a member of our military. So he approaches his “sibling” (Gyllanhaal) with a request for a favor. He needs several thousand dollars. Gyllenhaal offers more, with a caveat.
Jake needs Yahya to help him pull off a bank robbery in downtown Los Angeles. It should be clean. As Gyllenhaal suggests, “When have I ever done anything that puts you in harm’s way?” If they succeed, they will walk away with $32 million… far more than Abdul Mateen II needs, and plenty of cash to fund Gyllenhaal’s opulent lifestyle. Except, guess what? Things go horribly wrong. A young police officer shows up in the middle of the job, hoping to complete a routine bank transaction. The brothers take him hostage. But when the cop ends up getting shot, the brothers know the only way they survive this day is if they keep the officer alive. Which prompts them to flee the scene in a stolen ambulance.
Ambulance, based on this lengthy look (it was far longer than a standard trailer) boasts the extreme energy and manic pace of Michael Bay’s traditional action pictures, with the claustrophobic hook of the actors being limited to the confines of the ambulance -- once they get into it. The footage looks like Bay is trying to mash Speed, Con Air, his own picture The Rock, and Michael Mann’s Heat into one film. And it works? For now, at least.
Jake Gyllenhaal seems to be bringing the over-the-top sinister tones of Nightcrawler or Southpaw to this character, while Baby Driver’s Eisa Gonzalez is a wild-card addition as the medical tech in the ambulance who is forced to keep the wounded cop alive. Ambulance could take audiences by surprise when it blasts into theaters on February 18. Seeing as how this is the very first time I am even hearing about the film, it certainly took me by surprise at CinemaCon.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.