Sunday, August 3, 2008


Normally I'm pretty in touch with the collective social consciousness when it comes to judging movies. I might be a point high or low, but I can generally pick what people would consider a good movie and what they'd consider a bad movie. Wanted came out different.

I saw Wanted at the drive in theater with Julia, it was part of a double feature with The Strangers, but as we had to do the Relay for Life later that night, we didn't stick around for The Strangers. I probably wouldn't have even if we weren't pressed for time.

I had high hopes for Wanted. The serial that it was based on was probably one of the more insidious comic runs that I've seen. Bending bullets looks like a pretty cool idea. Angelina Jolie is sexy as all hell. It had a lot of things going for it.

James McAvoy plays Wesley Gibson, a white collar cubicle rat who's pathetic existence is sectioned between being pushed around his unfaithful girlfriend, his best friend fucking his unfaithful girlfriend, or his obese manager at work. He suffers from extreme anxiety attacks. It turns out that his father was the best assassin in a guild of assassins called The Fraternity. Those anxiety attacks enable him to slow down his perception of time. When the Fraternity loses his father, they approach Wesley to avenge him. Think the Matrix.

Angelina Jolie plays Fox, one of the assassins in the Fraternity. It is Fox who finally brings in Wesley to the Fraternity.

Morgan Freeman plays Sloan, the leader of the Fraternity. He interprets the Loom of Fate to hand out assignments.

Thomas Kretschmann plays Cross, a rouge assassin seeking to destroy the Fraternity.

Common plays a minor role as the Fraternity's gunsmith. His role is only notable because he apparently went to the Keanu Reeves school of acting. Just awful in this movie.

The film opens with a wicked gun battle between Mr. X, and several other gunmen. Mr. X demonstrates inhuman abilities by leaping across the gap between two skyscrapers, killing several men during the flight, and killing the last man by bending a bullet around the chimney the man was hiding behind. Pulling out a phone, he receives a call from Cross, a rouge assassin, they trade barbs, until Mr. X notices that he's standing on the x. Literally. His head bursts open as a bullet tears through his cranium. A slow mo rewind shows the bullet travelling, shedding stages as it goes, from the point of origin, Cross's rifle, situated in a small nondescript house miles across town.

We are introduced to Wesley Gibson, as he googles himself in his cubicle, and recounts why his life sucks. He counts his woes until at the pharmacy, he's abducted by Fox, as she returns fire at Cross. A high speed chase ensues, with Wesley gibbering like a terrified idiot the whole way.

Upon their escape from Cross, Fox takes Wesley to an assuming Textile mill, where the Fraternity is based. Here, Wesley learns of his abilities and his origins. After severing his connection with his previous life, he returns to the Fraternity and undertakes a rather brutal training regimen to become a member.

Upon the completion of his training, he is taken by Sloan into the inner sanctum of the Fraternity. Here Wesley see the Loom of Fate. Yes, the most elite order of assassins in the world takes their orders from a machine that makes curtains. The Loom reveals the intended target through binary code based on skipped threads. Here Wesley gets his next assignment, Cross...

The special effects are well done, and the movie as a whole has a kind of fluorescent afterglow that speaks of the white collar nihilism that permeates the story. The audio is very harsh, and kind of grinding on the ears. If you've seen 30 Days of Night, it's very similar to that.

The film is really disjointed in its editing. It can be very difficult to follow at times. There's a twist, because what movie doesn't have a twist now days, but it's fairly pedestrian, and if you can't see it coming, then maybe you should stop watching films for a while. McAvoy does a good job playing the meek cubicle lemming, but Jolie and Freeman were pretty disappointing.

Another thing that I took issue with was how, like V for Vendetta, they castrated the main character. They turned Wesley from an unambiguously evil anti hero, to a good little boy who fell in with the wrong crowd at first. Much the same as they took V from a terrorist who killed innocent and guilty alike, to an avenger who only killed people who deserved it.

Wanted is 110 minutes long, and brought in a 62 on metacritic. That surprised me, because I didn't think the film was that good. I give it a 4/10, it might not kill you to watch it, but I'm not making any promises.

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