Directed by Timur Bekmambetov.
Written by Michael Brandt, Derek Haas and Chris Morgan. Based
on the comics by Mark Millar and J.G. Jones.
Starring James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman and Common.
Release Year: 2008
Review Date: 6/19/08
I was leaving the theater last night, having
just watched a free preview of "Wanted", and three people in front
of me literally had exactly this exchange:
Person A: What did you think? I
thought it was terrible!
Person B: Really? I loved it!
Person C: Yeah, I did too! How could you not like it?
Just hearing the chatter in the lobby, I can
already tell that "Wanted" will be the 2008 version of
a classic example of a film that was nearly universal in its
love-it-or-hate-it appeal. For me...well, I didn't love it.
"Wanted" goes almost out of its way to be a
"Matrix"-like rip-off; we get the untrained killer-in-the-making
(played reasonably well by James McAvoy, from
Last King of Scotland"), his bad-ass female companion (Angelina
Jolie), a rogue group of team members with names like The Repairman
and The Gunsmith (otherwise known as "Casualties in the Making"),
even an older black scion/mentor/former bad-ass killer (played here
by Morgan Freeman). The similarities
continue--mind-bending/illogical physics, characters who can
occasionally fly or show strength beyond our understanding,
interminably long training sequences.
When all is said and done, we're left with
an action film that goes beyond our definition of over the top; in
fact, "Wanted" is essentially an action-comedy, not in the "Rush
Hour" way but a violent action film that falls in love with making
too many jokes, no matter what the situation is. I think it
was this balance that made me not like the film; sometimes the
McAvoy character is cracking jokes as he shoots people. Not
working for me. Also not working for me--basing your whole
action philosophy on a character's ability to "bend" shots around
stationary targets. Really not working for me: character's
ability to see bullets fired at them, fire back at said bullets
solely to shoot them out of the air.
I'm cool with ridiculous, but having someone
shoot moving bullets out of the air three times in a row?
At the same time, some people are going to
absolutely fucking love "Wanted." Seriously! The special
effects are interesting. McAvoy is a good-looking, charming
lead, and pairing him with Jolie--while not movie magic--is a solid
idea. Even though the majority of the movie's good scenes are
in the trailer, there are a couple of nice sight gags in the movie's
end action sequence. Some people will love watching people
constantly shoot pistols while whipping their arms in a sidewinder
motion. And, maybe some of the film's comic book fans will be
happy with the end result.
But, for me, "Wanted" only made me regret
having ever seen the better, cooler "Matrix" original; maybe if I
hadn't seen that, "Wanted" would be better.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard