Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, pervasive language and some sexuality.
Directed By: Timur Bekmambetov
Written By: Michael Brandt and Derek Haas
Staring: James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman, Terence Stamp, Thomas Kretschmann, Common, Kristen Hager, David O’Hara, and Marc Warren
“Welcome… to the Fraternity. This gun you’re holding belonged to your father; he could conduct a symphony orchestra with it.” -Sloan
Wanted is a new take on the super hero genre. The good guys are actually cold assassins. the high action integrated flawlessly with special effects is exuberant. There is a non stop pace from start to finish along with a darkness. This is no film for the whole family, it’s violent and action packed, and a relief to add a real R rated action film into the genre that has a lasting quality. The visual quality of the film was clearly inspired by Shoot ‘Em Up and The Matrix. The cinematography and the overwhelming world created is breath taking.
Sitting in his cubicle, Wesley spends his days loathing his mundane existence and curses the simplicity of who and what he is. Subject to anxiety attacks, and fear of ever standing up for himself his days pass quickly, each mimicking the exact same as the other. The predictability of who he is is sending him on the brink of insanity until he meets one Fox, a woman who claims she is there to save his life. What follows is a non stop action extravaganza with Wesley constantly struggling to keep up. When he discovers his father and this woman were in league together, belonging to an elite assassin group, he is pressured to join, but what he must endure to get there is not without consequence. Of course nothing is ever what it seems.
The cast was phenomenal. Often with a high octane action flick you expect mediocre acting, but with Jolie, Freeman and the incredibly talented James McAvoy and high element of quality shines through. The only issue I truly had was with Angelina. Why is she so skinny? She’s supposed to be a tough assassin, but she looks so emaciated it’s difficult to believe she even has the strength to hold up a weapon let alone fire one and engage in heavy hitting hand to hand combat. She was totally believable as Lara Croft, so it’s not as though she can’t pull off the superhero behavior, or buff up for this kind of role. Her character Fox was smooth as silk, and each scene she was in somehow became more exciting. Having McAvoy play opposite her just added to the already pulsating excitement. Freeman as Sloan, the ominous father of their destinies foreshadowed something in their future, something more than what cut and dry plot tried to convince you it initially was.
Just when Wanted is done convincing the audience the plot is one dimensional a twist is thrown in that takes the pulse pounding thriller to even another level of excitement. Some of the points are a bit ridiculous, but the direction of the film is so fast paced and so exciting the audience isn’t going to care. Even though the basic idea that our “heroes” are assassins is overlooked easily by the great action and thankfully great acting. There are moments the director, Bekmambetov, really allows Freeman, Jolie, and McAvoy to exude their talents threw their characters. Every now and again you get to see real acting, and that makes the film even more interesting. McAvoy in particulars character went through a huge transition from beginning to end. He goes from pocket protecting nerd who has anxiety attacks, to wicked cool assassin, but never once did the transition feel forced.
There is a certain level of goofy and funny that is implemented throughout. While the film pokes fun, it does still take itself seriously, but even some of the more intense moments are met with what had of of been put in as a joke. There are a ton of character moments with McAvoy moving from zombie cubicle boy to his training that leads him on his new path. When he enters his old apartment for his gun and Fox comes in behind him, the moment they share is both sensual and has a element of humor, all the while maintaining the hard exterior the film had set a precedent up to at that point.n
The action is just to die for. The way the film is shot is a combination of Shoot ‘Em Up and The Matrix. It is invigorating, each scene exciting, while not shying away from the intense violence that is a result of such actions. Like Eagle Eyes inability to stop a take a breath, Wanted follows the same formula, and it works. The unstoppable pace matched with the intense action, visualized through a stylish world in which these “should be” villains exist and their impossible world is possible.
Wanted is the kind of “R” action flick I aim for when the mood strikes me. The pacing never hesitated, and the excitement never faltered. It was what going to see extreme action films is all about. Wanted may have not had all the depth it could have, or a highlysensible plot, but the action and enthusiasm for the character’s make up for that without question. This is a fun movie that is meant to be enjoyed for what it is instead of what it’s not. I thoroughly enjoyed this one, just somebody tell Angelina to buff up next time.