Directed by Timur Bekmambetow
Produced by Marc Platt
Screenplay by Chris Morgan, Michael Brandt & Derek Haas
Based on the comic book by Mark Millar and J.G. Jones
The first thing you should realize about WANTED is that it’s a potboiler. Not that I think WANTED is an inferior work. Far from it. I actually like WANTED a whole lot and intend to purchase it for my home DVD library. But I enjoy WANTED for what it is: a potboiler. Back in the 1930’s and 40’s pulp writers wrote a lot of ‘potboilers’ which is a term that pulp writers used back then to describe something they wrote strictly for eating money: to keep the ‘pot’ at home ‘boiling’ on the stove. WANTED has a whole lot of A-talent on the screen and behind the camera. But everybody involved in this movie knows exactly what they’re making: a potboiler. It’s something they’ll get a check from to keep the pots boiling on the stove while they’re waiting for a more prestigious project to come along. And since they know this, they’re able to relax and give WANTED their all and therefore make it a very good B-movie.
Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) has a really shitty life. He works at a job he hates. His hot girlfriend is screwing his best friend. Which he knows but he’s too much of a wuss to do anything about it. His boss cusses him out in front of his co-workers on a daily basis. He has to take a lot of medication to control his panic attacks. To sum up: he hates his life. That’s all changed by a beautiful, mysterious woman named Fox (Angelina Jolie) who meets with him and informs Wesley that his father was the greatest assassin in the world. But he was betrayed and killed by another assassin who is now after Wesley. Fox introduces Wesley to Sloan (Morgan Freeman) who is the current head of The Fraternity, an ancient order of assassins who only kill to insure that thousands or even millions in the future won’t die. Sloan is able to decipher who should die by means of The Loom Of Fate, a device that weaves a cloth that tells Sloan who to kill by the way threads in the cloth are weaved.
Wesley is trained by The Gunsmith (Common) The Repairman ( Marc Warren) The Exterminator (Konstantin Khabensky) and The Butcher (Dato Bakhtadze) and it’s a training that apparently consists of Wesley being beaten to a pulp by The Repairman, sliced almost to death by The Butcher and then placed in a restorative healing bath by The Exterminator on a daily basis. In between he’s given martial arts training by Fox and philosophical discussions on the ethical morality of assassination by Sloan. Part of his training is learning how to make bullets behave in Looney Tunes fashion: members of The Fraternity can actually make bullets go around corners, up flights of stairs and travel miles across the city to hit their targets. And once his training is finished, Wesley is given his assignment: to kill the assassin who killed his father. But that’s an assignment that turns out to be a lot more than Wesley thought it would be.
WANTED is a good summer movie. That’s the best recommendation I can give. But maybe I saw it at the best time: when I really didn’t care what I saw as long as it was in an air-conditioned theatre. There is absolutely nothing about WANTED that you have to strain your brain cells about. Everything that is happening right there on the screen in front of you at the moment it’s happening is all you need to be concerned about. And it’s done very well. I love Angelina Jolie in everything she does. Even those lousy ‘Tomb Raider’ flicks and I only wish that somebody would do a “Modesty Blaise” movie and cast her as she’d be perfect.. Angelina Jolie struts through this movie with such a classy attitude that you can’t help but love her. James McAvoy is also having a good time as the Peter Parker-ish nerd who transforms into a badass killing machine but never loses his sense of humor or irony at the situation he’s in. And Morgan Freeman…well, he’s just The Man. Need anything else be said?
Fans of ‘The Matrix” are going to love WANTED as it makes use of a whole lot of ‘bullet time’ effect and the director is a very good visualist. He’s directed a couple of Russian movies I haven’t seen but have heard are very good. But just based on what I saw in WANTED I’d say this guy has a good career in front of him. WANTED is a great example of what a B-movie should be: full of action, good performances, a thin-as-tissue-paper-plot that we as the audience don’t have to think about too much. And it’s fun. It’s the sort of movie that your friends are going to be asking if you have it in your video library a year from now when they come over to your house/apartment to hang out. It would make a good double feature with “The Assassination Bureau” as it shares a lot of the same themes with that movie. Enjoy.
Rated: R: and it deserves it. There’s a lot of raw language and violence in this one. As well as two explicit sex scenes.