in Review

Dead or Alive


Wanted is more or less a 12 year old’s wet dream. An ancient fraternity of assassins taking orders from a cloth spinning machine dubbed “The Loom of Fate” definitely sounds like something a juvenile adrenaline junkie would dream up, but even under it’s cheesy exterior Timur Bekmambetov’s Wanted isn’t entirely a misfire.

Here we follow the day to day life of an anxiety ridden accountant Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) endlessly trying to find his place in the world. Learning about most of his mundane existence through a sarcastic voice over, Wesley soon enough meets expert female assassin Fox (Angelina Jolie) and just like that his world becomes unraveled. Learning that he could become one of the greatest assassins in the world, Wesley begins his training consisting of curving bullets, getting beat up, reading textiles and blah blah blah some other cheesy assassin junk.

I got to admit right off the bat this sounds familiar. True I can’t recall an earlier film that followed this set up to a tee, but the idea of a seemingly average guy finding out he’s really an individual of great abilities and importance? They’re never gonna get tired of milking that cow are they? Scottish actor James McAvoy stars as our average joe turned killer hero Wesley, I’m not a particular fan of his work but he’s a suitable enough protagonist for this popcorn flick. Angelina Jolie does her “Look how how sexy I am flying around shooting guns” routine, though I find it hard to believe that a boney actress painted up like a prostitute could be a world class assassin. Morgan Freeman phones it in as he doesn’t need to flex to much skill in action movie like this and hey, even Terence Stamp pops in for some reason.

Obviously this isn’t the kind of movie you go see for a well crafted character driven story, so getting to the main point of interest, “How were the special effects?” Well they were fine. I can’t say there was any stunt or effect that was unlike anything I’d ever seen, but they’re still impressive nonetheless. Jumping through glass, tumbling fancy cars, curving bullets (which collided into other bullets far too many times) you know typical Matrix wannabe stuff. It’s funny that on Ebert and Roeper they mentioned that the bullet is almost like another character in this movie and I’m gonna have to agree. Most of these fight sequences were choreographed pretty tightly, sure they weren’t always that thrilling but you have to respect the effort put into this precise ballet of bullets.

Wanted isn’t anything fresh to this genre but far from one of the worst. I’ll admit that I’m usually pretty harsh on these kind of films, as I usually find this elaborate assassin mumbo jumbo to be tedious and dull. So if you can accept all the over the top action sequences, the relatively formulaic story and the occasionally cheesy presentation of this comic book adaptation, then you should check this out… And if your not about the points I just listed, then I suggest you run for the hills and never look back.