Review: Wanted (2008) R 110min
July 7th, 2008 by Maxim · 3 Comments · 7,889 Views
Russian director Timur Bekmambetov is already known to American audience by his films Night Watch: Nochnoy Dozor and Day Watch: Dnevnoy Dozor and the next part, Twilight Watch: Sumerechniy Dozor based on Sergei Lukyanenko’s bestselling book. That movie went out in limited release. Those who are old enough remember two dramatic movies he made about Soviet soldiers during the war in Afghanistan: Peshavar Waltz (1994) and Escape from Afghanistan (2004) that was huge back in Russia and flopped in USA and Canada: it was marketed as an action movie, which it wasn’t – it was a war drama. Alas, the aforementioned trilogy was the highest grossing movie in Russia ever made by a Russian director, and it was not unnoticed in Hollywood. This time Timur Bekmambetov brings American audience an action movie starring James McAvoy of The Last King of Scotland and last year’s Atonement, Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman and Thomas Kretschmann (U-571, Blade II, The Pianist, In Enemy Hands, Downfall, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Head In The Clouds, Peter Jackson’s King Kong etc.).
The plot: a 25-year old slacker account manager Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) is going through his daily routine, always frustrated with the repetitiveness and uselessness of his pointless dead-end job, wasting his life day by day in apathy. But one day his life is entirely changed when he is told by woman named Fox (Angelina Jolie), a member of secret society of assassins known as The Fraternity, that his father was a member of Fraternity too and he was killed the day before. The 1000 year old Fraternity lives by the unbreakable code to kill people chosen by the Fate itself. After Wesley himself barely escapes an assassination attempt helped by sexy Fox, he joins The Fraternity to improve the reflexes he was born with and to train as assassin to avenge his father’s death. Under supervision of Fox and Fraternity’s leader Sloan (Morgan Freeman) young accountant-turned-assassin finds out about Fraternity’s ambitions and the truth about his father.
The good: Entertaining, thanks to Angelina Jolie’s performance and effects that go ridiculously far in details. Darkly humorous. Violent, but not gory – worth comparing to Kill Bill. Several twists in the plot made this movie quite interesting. James McAvoy’s performance and narrative were a lot of fun. Angelina Jolie was lethal, intelligent and hot in her role as Fox – there wasn’t enough of her. A call to take control over our lives and being proactive is at the core of the movie. The visual for fate weaving its web was pretentious, but wasn’t entirely convincing.
The bad: The whole code of the Fraternity appears to be morally bankrupt. They might as well chose their targets by tea leafs in a cup. Some CGI sequences were noticeably poorly executed, such as scene where the car becomes airborne and flips over the bus. In one of the scenes Wesley’s co-worker Barry (Chris Pratt) is supposed to have a missing tooth, but it’s clearly visible that the tooth had been blacked out – unforgivable in a special-effects movie. Not enough Angelina Jolie. The action in this movie is like in a computer game – vaguely complies with laws of physics, as well as devout of realism and purpose - particularly scenes of training and riding on the roofs of the metro trains. The sequence of train derailment was pathetic. Not much innovation in the movie, both plot-wise and visual effects-wise: the beginning of the movie was too much like Office Space, while the rest was too much like Matrix – Wesley is Neo, Fox is Trinity, Sloan is Morpheus. The twist in the plot… I’ll just hint at Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back. I’ve seen stereotypical Russians in Hollywood movies before, but this one has a stereotypical Russian AND is directed by a Russian… Well, Russian-Kazakh.
The summary: This is a pretentious special-effects action movie with an ambition to be as philosophical and innovative as Matrix, but even though it’s quite entertaining it completely fails to realize these ambitions. Unrealistic, so keep reminding yourself that it’s based on a graphic novel. “Now go back to your miserable lives”. I have written a review. “What the f*** have you done lately?”.
The cast: Wesley Gibson - James McAvoy | Sloan – Morgan Freeman | Fox – Angelina Jolie | Pekwarsky – Terence Stamp | Cross – Thomas Kretschmann | Gunsmith – Common | Cathy – Kristen Hager | The Repairman – Marc Warren (Hussle) | The Butcher – Dato Bakhtadze (Crash, Irony of Fate: The Sequel)
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Accountant | Angelina Jolie | assassin | based on comic | based on comic book | based on graphic novel | betrayal | blood | butcher | CGI | Chicago | Decoy | Destiny | Factory | Fate | flashback sequence | Fraternity | Gun | James McAvoy | kiss | knife | Knife Throwing | loss of father | male nudity | Missing Father | Morgan Freeman | murder | secret organization | sex | Shoot Out | Shooting | shot in the eye | shot in the head | Slaughterhouse | slow motion | Son Killing Father | Stapler | Thomas Kretschmann | Timur Bekmambetov | Train Accident | Training | trap | Wax | Weaving