Okay, so Wan Chin and I just caught Wanted, and… well. It was not what I expected! I would give you a review, but FixedR6 has already said everything I would like to, just with better words than them what I’ve gotTo add my own cent or two – because I can’t help myself – it was really surprising that the freewheeling, anything-goes absurdity of the action actually worked pretty well. It’s all very post-Matrix, except without the justification of being able to hack the rules of reality… in Wanted’s world, people can do physics-defying, bone-crunching ninja shit with impossible precision, it just takes a little practice. Seeing a character deliberately flipping a car over another one so they can shoot at some guy through the open-top usually makes you want to ask for a refund. In Wanted, you just kinda shrug and say “Ha! Far out. Now what?”And the “Now what?” was a genuine “What the hell is going to happen next?”. The fast-and-loose attitude towards plausibility meant that I really didn’t know, and that’s pretty rare in a popcorn flick. I mean, sure – the plot has some incredibly, painfully obvious ‘twists’ that you can see coming from the Val Morgan ads, and you never for a moment believe that our hero is in the slightest genuine danger, and there’s one particular scene that puts the most contrived and functional exposition into Angelina Jolie’s mouth since an evil genius said “Since you will soon be dead, I suppose I can tell you my whole plan…”But then, there’s also a loom that gives binary instructions to kill people. And there are three-inch suicide bombers. And you get to see Morgan Freeman say “motherfucker”, and even when Morgan Freeman plays a convicted murderer, Morgan Freeman doesn’t say “motherfucker”. Also, he’s an assassin. So, you know.Okay, Apologies in advance for this last point, but I really don’t hold with the whole ‘it’s just entertainment’ idea, so I’m gonna get a bit high-horse for a sec.Testosterone-fuelled regression is just why we all go to see action films, but Wanted regressed too far. Timur Bekmambetov’s accomplished direction (watch this guy – he’s going places) can’t save the story from being the narcissistic fantasy of a maladjusted fifteen-year-old boy whose understanding of virtue is the Punisher and whose understanding of women comes from Playboy.Just had to get that out there.
Wanted is superhuman assassin gun porn, and like every other film released this year (well, almost) is based on a comic. If you took The Matrix, removed the social commentary and “I’m very serious” aesthetic, and replaced it with brutal violence, buckets of wonderful spatter, and Angelina Jolies arse, then you pretty much have Wanted.Wanted knows what it is: a film for young men to get excited at. It’s funny, looks good, and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It doesn’t really challenge the audience, but it’s an action film – did I mention of has a shot of Jolies’ naked arse?James McAvoy plays the lead role of Wesley well, although his talent as an actor is a little wasted on this occasion. Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie are basically themselves (as they are in almost every film they participate in), and the rest of the cast are filler. Timur Bekmambetov directs and brings much of the visual style he fleshed out with the films Nightwatch and Daywatch to the screen. Unfortunately the script is a little light and apart from the protagonists’ montage to hero (christ I’m so over this convention) there’s little in the way of character development. If Timur had been involved with the screenwriting I imagine Wanted could have been so much more, but as it stands it’s a just a good example of modern popcorn action.If you can accept the premise of a fraternity of super-powered assassins receiving direction from a magic loom (I shit you not), then by all means watch and enjoy this film. Take it for what it is, ignore the suspect looking CG rats, and bring your mates. Good times.3.5 stars.