One of the biggest (and most surprising) flops of the year so far was Ambulance, Michael Bay’s return to the world of (slightly) more grounded action movies after years in the wilderness of bad Transformers sequels. The movie featured a solid premise, a great cast that included Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Eiza Gonzalez, and Garret Dillahunt, and some of the most dynamic camerawork of Bay’s entire career.
Ambulance also earned Michael Bay his best reviews in at least a decade. Mine was among them. Earlier this spring, I wrote here on ScreenCrush that the film had “a perfect setup for a lean, taut 85 minute thriller” and a first act — a bank heist in broad daylight — that “is clearly one of the best things [Bay’s] ever done.”
Despite all of that, Ambulance bombed in theaters, grossing just $22 million in the U.S. and another $29 million overseas. Bay’s movies typically make that much money in a single weekend. Not this time. While theaters have rebounded somewhat in the last few months after the Covid pandemic, the fate of Ambulance — an escapist popcorn thriller with big stars and a big director — didn’t speak well of the health of the theatrical industry for anything beyond the bounds of massive tentpoles or sequels to big franchises.
If you were among the many people who missed Ambulance in theaters because you felt ”Hey, it’s not a Marvel movie, I don’t need to worry about getting spoiled, I’ll just catch it on streaming” today is your day because Ambulance is now on streaming. You can watch it right now on Peacock.
Here’s the film’s official synopsis:
In this action thriller directed by Michael Bay, veteran Will Sharp (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Candyman), desperate for money, turns to his adoptive brother Danny (Jake Gyllenhaal, End of Watch) for help. A career criminal, Danny instead offers him a huge score. But when their heist goes awry, the desperate brothers hijack an ambulance with a wounded cop and EMT (Eiza González, Baby Driver) onboard. Will and Danny must evade a city-wide law enforcement response, keep their hostages alive, and somehow try not to kill each other, all while executing the most insane escape LA has ever seen.
Look, I’m not gonna sit here and tell you Ambulance is Shakespeare. (Michael Bay’s Hamlet, now there’s a billion dollar concept.) But it is fun. The drone shots alone are worth the price of admission — and if you already have Peacock, that makes the admission price precisely $0.