HOLLYWOOD—A stellar action-thriller is hard to come by America, but wow, that’s all I can say after watching the Michael Bay film “Ambulance.” Bay is no stranger for delivering iconic action flicks like “Bad Boys,” “Transformers” and “Armageddon,” but his latest is one-of-a-kind that I really think should have been pushed more for the big screen.

How could I best describe “Ambulance?” Some might say its “Speed” meets the medical arena with a lot more firepower and I must admit at first I got that vibe, but this was a movie that once it began I was immediately invested in our core group of characters. I mean Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Eiza Gonzalez are fantastic in this movie.

They shine and because of that you care about all three of these characters, all who have different motives and a find themselves just one move away from death. Gyllenhaal and Mateen II play brothers Danny and Will Sharp. Are they actual brothers? They don’t look like it, but the chemistry between Gyllenhaal and Mateen II makes the audience think they are. They argue like brothers, they fight like brothers, they love and hate like brothers and it works so well as the spectator you eat it up even though you shouldn’t.

Will is a war vet who is in desperate need of money for his wife and newborn son. Danny is a life-long criminal who just has difficulty staying on the right path. This is a shining role for Gyllenhaal who I have never seen play a villain to this degree. He eats up the role and gives zero you know what when it comes to the drama and the intensity and it’s an eye-opener. I want to see the actor dabble in more villainous roles.

Will’s decision to ask his brother for a loan soon turns into one he regrets as a bank heist turns into a hostage situation where the life of a police officer depends on Will and Danny and EMT Cameron Thompson (Gonzalez) in a riveting role. Gonzalez manages to bring heart and a rough edge to a character the audience expects to be more sympathetic by nature, but this might be how many EMTs react to the daily grind of their job.

You might think based on the title the entire flick takes place in an ambulance truck, but you would be wrong. It is vital to the narrative that once our antagonists get inside that truck the movie follows that chaos on their route to escape. However, you have the police all over trying to outmaneuver Will and Danny’s every move. This flick delivers the action with epic car chases, unstoppable gunfire, fist fights and explosions as only Michael Bay can deliver to the audience. At the same time, the spectator is forced to question how they would react in certain situations. What would you do for family? What would you sacrifice for a complete stranger? And questions about morals come into play to. Someone can do something bad for a good reason and as a viewer does that make me a bad person for sympathizing with them?

At various points in the film, I was rooting for all three characters for different reasons, Danny because you sometimes want to see the bad guy get away, Will because he’s doing a bad thing for the right reasons because his government has failed him and then Cam because she is our protagonist, but finds herself in a situation where she questions everything she does people.

“Ambulance” is an emotional rollercoaster for all the right reasons. For a flick that clocks in over 2 hours, I did not look at my watch once and the pacing is so flawless from Bay that if you blink you miss a ton and it is just an epic ride from start to finish. This is indeed one on my top 10 list of 2022 people and “Ambulance” might get a second watch from me much sooner than later.