Film Reviews

WANTED

By • Jun 27th, 2008 •

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All hail Timur Bekmambetov and his stunt team. You will love the last line of the film.

As the bar keeps getting raised in the action genre, the idea of suspending reality has leapt into the realm of fantasy slamming right into mundane everyday life.

Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) is a gold star loser. His boss is a castrating behemoth, his job as an accountant manager is soul crushing, and he’s being cuckolded by his best friend. His girlfriend is a shrew and he has $14 in his checking account. He lives in a dump on Pelham Parkway in the Bronx. But, his DNA has been targeted by a cabal of psycho super-charged assassins belonging to a guild of weavers. Who runs this centuries old gang of weaving thugs out to keep the world order?

Are they members of Novus Ordo Mundi? The Illuminati? Is it the Bilderberg Group? World Trade Organization? Dreamworks?

Gibson was raised as a poor son of a single mother. His father skipped out right after his birth without even leaving a note. Fox (Angelina Jolie, once again playing a butch franchise character she created called Angelina Jolie) turns up and tells Gibson his father was a super-human assassin belonging to a group more powerful and richer than Saudi Arabia, known simply as “the Fraternity”. His dad was rich, but never even dropped a twenty in a birthday card.

Gibson is brutally recruited into The Fraternity. His mission? Kill the man who killed his father. Now, if it was his abandoned mother who was killed, I would understand. The Fraternity’s U.S. headquarters is a functioning weave shop in a castle compound and at its head is Sloane (Morgan Freeman).

Sloane informs Gibson that he is the only one who can avenge his father’s death. First, he has to be toughened up by a crew of vicious killers. Then he has to do a few dress rehearsal killings. Taken under Fox’s tattooed wing, his potential is revealed. He can curve bullets. Run faster than lightning and is a swift knife-welding killer. Every night he sleeps in a chamber that miraculously restores his body to perfection, sans wounds and aches and pains.

Is Angelina Jolie the female Arnold Schwarzenegger? Can she leave the Angelina Jolie character behind and play a real woman? We will see later this year. Can Clint Eastwood, who directs Jolie in THE CHANGELING as a 1928 working class mother, keep Jolie from raising her eyebrow or doing that Monty Python “silly walk”?

Jolie, who has crafted Fox as a tribute to herself, is perfect. No acting required here. McAvoy, actually appearing shorter and slighter than he has in the past, does have chemistry with Jolie. But WANTED will make a star of Bekmambetov. Understanding that action directors are more like Roman generals than New Wave auteurs, Bekmambetov brilliantly orchestrates an enormous cast of highly skilled technicians. And, he can direct the few non-action scenes.

WANTED screenwriters, Michael Brandt, Derek Haas and Chris Morgan, (story by Michael Brand and Derek Haas), working from comic books by Mark Millar and J.G. Jones, give us the nice twist and then, the double twist. WANTED has an intelligent script with a very clever voice over. I loved the last line of the film. It’s going to seal the movie’s status as a memorable and terrific action movie. Bekmambetov steps over THE MATRIX, making The Wachowski Brothers look quaintly old school.

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