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Overall Rating

Awesome: 14.67%
Worth A Look33.33%
Average: 32%
Pretty Bad: 12%
Total Crap: 8%

7 reviews, 33 user ratings

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by Lybarger

"Angelina Jolie rescues a guy from a master assassin: It could happen."
4 stars

For most of its running time, 'Wanted' makes a virtue of outlandishness. Kazakh director Timur Bekmambetov ('Nightwatch') loads the film with an endless series of jaw-popping images that have only a tangential relationship to the physical world. Thankfully, he can also tell a story, even if the tale has all the depth of the average teaspoon.

Loosely following the comic book by Mark Millar and J.G. Jones, Bekmambetov and screenwriters Michael Brandt, Derek Haas, and Chris Morgan weave a tale of revenge that has enough twists and surprises to get around any disbelief that viewers might accumulate. The brisk 110-minute running time doesn’t hurt either.

As with a lot of adventure stories, “Wanted” concerns a son trying to avenge the death of his father. The catch is that this film’s protagonist Wesley Gibson (Scottish actor James McAvoy) is unaware of his dad’s passing.

Wesley hasn’t seen his father (David Patrick O’Hara) since shortly after his own birth, so he has no idea that he’s the offspring of a master assassin. It seems odd that Wesley would share his father’s genes because he himself makes a doormat seem aggressive and belligerent.

When he’s not plagued by panic attacks, Wesley is being bullied by his micromanaging boss (Lorna Scott) and dwelling on the fact that his nagging girlfriend (Kristen Hager) has been sleeping with his alleged best friend Barry (a delightfully insincere, Chris Pratt).

Wesley’s ennui comes to an abrupt end when he finds himself mysteriously pursued by a hitman known simply as Cross (Thomas Kretschmann, “The Pianist”). The chase leads him into the arms of a tattooed killing machine named Fox (a typecast but effective Angelina Jolie).

With the help of Fox and her mentor Sloan (Morgan Freeman), Wesley discovers that he’s inherited his father’s ability to neutralize people. He learns how to bend the trajectory of a bullet and to drive his car in a manner that turns the laws of physics into optional suggestions.

While he can now tell his former antagonists what he thinks of them, he finds that being a master killer has its downside. The Fraternity, the ancient order of assassins he’s joined, moonlight as weavers and read a device called “The Loom of Fate” to determine their next target.

Joining the Fraternity, obligates Wesley to kill whomever the Loom selects as a victim. Needless to say, ethical issues arise.

McAvoy helps keep the setup from falling apart by effortlessly changing from a nebbish to a confidently lethal professional. He keeps Wesley from becoming an excessive whiner during the early portions and still makes him reasonably human when Wesley starts to like his job a little too much.

It’s also fun to hear Morgan Freeman’s deep, regal voice spouting some language from the late George Carlin's list of seven.

While the premise is unlikely, the screenwriters actually come up with plot reversals that manage to be as credible as they are jolting. Before the mayhem starts to become as monotonous as Wesley’s previous occupation, the story pleasantly shifts gears.

Bekmambetov’s visuals owe a debt to “The Matrix” and “The Fast and the Furious,” but he thankfully exceeds his quota of astonishing images. Marvel at how creatively Wesley takes out a target riding in a limo with a sunroof.

The director also knows that earnestness won’t work in this sort of tale. The sardonic tone extends to visuals. Pay close attention to what happens to a keyboard that Wesley uses as a weapon.

“Wanted” never asks viewers to take it seriously but delivers more than enough blood-stained eye candy to keep the Fraternity in business for the next decade.

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originally posted: 06/27/08 13:51:03
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User Comments

8/25/20 morris campbell decent 3 stars
1/18/12 Marc DC action, special effects are great, but too much of a Matrix rip off 3 stars
9/28/09 matt i wanted to like it, but the story was dumb, nihilistic and it revels in its own absurdity 2 stars
6/11/09 kenJuku Those who didn't like Wanted have thier heads in the sand, Jolie's Da CHIT!! 4 stars
4/15/09 K pretty awful 2 stars
4/02/09 brad pitt wanted was terrible. 1 stars
2/08/09 Aleks Beautiful, beautiful review... Thank you for that. 1 stars
1/26/09 Ry a little suprised Morgan Freeman would be in a movie like this. 2 stars
1/16/09 Stephanie Bruce All the fun stunts are in the movie trailer, fun movie disappointing though 3 stars
1/11/09 filibuster fred was a laff but at timez I was snorin... 3 stars
12/30/08 Quigley Visually interesting but requries massive belief-suspense. McAvoy was quite good 3 stars
12/07/08 action movie fan good story, overdirected with unconvincing special effects-great train wreck though 3 stars
11/28/08 Jon G well executed 5 stars
9/22/08 nemesis movie sucked from start till end, ultra crap 1 stars
8/30/08 damalc a convoluted hurried mess, but with some nifty action sequences 3 stars
8/18/08 George Barksdale Good action and worth a look 3 stars
8/13/08 Horace This movie won't be another dark Knight. So just shut up and enjoy. Great Film! 5 stars
8/11/08 M brain dead action comedy + Angelina = 3 stars
7/23/08 Ivana Mann Surprisingly good action flick.Pure adrenaline, and CGI that doesn't look like shit.Nice! 4 stars
7/21/08 Funkstick movie kicked my ass 5 stars
7/19/08 bloob The storyline wasn't all that great, but the special effects were far above average. 4 stars
7/12/08 mr.mike Disagree with brian , it got better when it became more serious. 4 stars
7/10/08 BNorm The story was corny and uninteresting but the action was that shit bitch 3 stars
7/06/08 Jayson Jolie couldn't be hotter. Loved it from start to bloody finish. 4 stars
7/06/08 ajay movie is shit, bad acting, bad writing, bad story, too much slow motion running.. bleh 1 stars
7/04/08 sir spam-a-lot Decent action/comic-like movie 3 stars
7/04/08 Nic Bright The trailer hardly does this movie justice, GO WATCH IT! The endings gona kick u in ur ass! 5 stars
7/03/08 Random This blissfully unapologetic cacophony of violence never feels dull. 4 stars
7/02/08 df Yeah, because everyone knows John Woo is American as apple pie. Anyway, great closer Erik. 1 stars
6/28/08 Jiz I guess this is what Transporter 2 and Crank would be without Jason Statham. 4 stars
6/28/08 Obi Wan Visual Masturbation! Nothing like the book. Only that they're assassins! 3 stars
6/28/08 Mandrake You can't handle the fact that non-americans make good action fims! 5 stars
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  27-Jun-2008 (R)
  DVD: 02-Dec-2008


  DVD: 02-Dec-2008

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