Jul 2008 10

Timur Bekmambetov brings Mark Millar’s graphic novel to life in a visually stunning and entertaining film that comes off a bit rushed and short changed on material.
Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) is going no where in life. His girlfriend is cheating on him with his best friend, he hates his job, and he hates his boss all while having no direction for the future at all. This is in contrast to a member of the Brotherhood, one of which is his father who we see killed after leaping out a window taking out a number of would be assassins as he jumps out one building to another (he makes the jump, it’s a bullet that gets him). Wesley is quickly finds a brash change in his life when he is approached by Fox (Angelina Jolie) who is both recruiting him to the brotherhood as well as protecting him from his fathers assassin Cross (Thomas Kretschmann). The two go on a whirlwind chase around Chicago as they are chased by Cross performing super unrealistic, but stylish, moves in Fox’s corvette all while Wesley is nearly shitting himself. Upon escape, Wesley is introduced to Sloan (Morgan Freeman), the leader of the Brotherhood, who says Wesley has inherited all of his father’s assets and is destined to be a hit man of the Brotherhood. Upon Wesley’s release he awakes as if from a dream but quickly realizes his reality and begins down a path to a life he never thought he had.
The movie from here turns into a traditional origin story as we watch Wesley “train” and learn the history to the Brotherhood, but outside a small tidbit about Fox, the past of these guys helping train Wesley remain a complete mystery. A lot of these characters seem pretty cool as well and it would have been nice to get some kind of background at all on any of these supposed deadly killers.
Another complaint I have is that Wesley gets way to cocky and way to short a time, it’s one thing to be confident, it’s another to think he is the world’s deadliest killer seemingly overnight. This is even more surprising as he is such a pathetic mess when we first meet him. The middle of this film is quite rushed and breezes over any depth or meaning to the story and sticks to the absolute bare bones of what is happening. I feel just a couple minutes of showing his attitude change would have helped the classic training montage work a bit better.
The film is also filled with a number of silly elements that you just kind of shake your head at but have to accept because you are loving that these people can bend bullets and even make them collide in mid-air with their opponents. The loom of fate is just ridiculous, as this loom manned by no one, just spits out the supposed bad people of the world to tell the Brotherhood to kill them. It also must loom large sums of money because I couldn’t figure out who is paying these people all this money. Also, the back history of the Brotherhood, a group of weavers formed a secret society in medieval times to start caring out the fate of the evil. The candle wax healing bath is also quite ridiculous but it works as an effective device to move our characters along as they get this shit kicked out of them.
I should stop stressing the negatives though, as the film is full of many great bits as well. The action is superb and super imaginative with the effects looking solid throughout. There are three action set pieces with each being full of unbelievably and absurdness but you should just sit back and enjoy the visual feast and ingenuity in the scenes. The acting is also very good with James McAvoy showing he can handle the action chops to go along with the acting skills he has proven in his other films. He is believable as a bad ass out of nowhere and is full of intensity while also being very cool and funny when he needs to be; it’s nice to have an action hero with some range. Freeman walks through the motions as Sloan but does the job with class you would expect from him, and when he curses it is just so fantastic to hear in this film for some reason. Jolie does a good job of what she is supposed to do, kick ass and look sexy, and while there really isn’t a romantic plot in the film she gives the film a bad ass killer heroine that you don’t see to often. The rest of the supporting cast is adequate but really have little to nothing to do.
In the end, Wanted is full awesome visuals (got to love slow-mo head shots), great action, and good acting all around. A thin and bit predictable story hold it back at times but the blazing pace keeps you entertained throughout the run time as the film always recaptures your attention if a scene waivers. A very good action film to get lost in for two hours, Wanted is worth seeking out if you are a action junkie looking for a little R-Rated fun over the weekend.


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