Reel Shorts | Wanted

26 06 2008

After months of watching trailers for the special effects laden action adventure, “Wanted, it would be fair to compare the film to a large cup of Chocolate ice cream. While it may be enjoyable for that moment, the after effects will be neither healthy nor good for you . . . much like this film.

On paper, this story of go with the flow, nervous loser who discovers that his birthright is the chance to become a super assassin is a winner. Chock full of special effects and featuring the talents of Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie and directed by Russian F/X ace, Timur Bekmambetov (“Daywatch” and “Nightwatch”), all of the ingredients are there for a cinematic rollercoaster ride.

Well . . . not exactly.

After an amazing opening sequence ripped straight from “The Matrix,” loner Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) is set to begin his day. Suffering from daily anxiety attacks, the poor man needs constant medication to keep him from self-destructing under the malicious treatment of his overweight and annoying supervisor. Gibson can’t catch a break; his girlfriend is cheating on him with his best friend.

While filling his prescription, he encounters a mysterious young woman, Fox (Jolie), who comes to his aid. Telling the confused and frightened Gibson that he’s living a lie, she hustles him off to “The Fraternity.” Much like John Anderson, who transforms into Neo, Gibson slowly begins to understand that the life of an assassin may ultimately be his destiny.

He undergoes a sadistic and brutal training under the watchful eye of the head of The Fraternity, Sloan (Morgan Freeman). Gibson assumes his father’s place and prepares to battle the man who killed his father. But the closer Gibson gets to the truth, the further he becomes tangled in the maze-like structure of The Fraternity and organization’s founders, the Weavers who designate their targets using the “Loom of Fate.” Life or death for the Weavers, is literally hanging by a thread.

McAvoy, who has given solid performances in cross genres (“The Last King of Scotland,” “Atonement”), imbues his character with palpable sense of loss and routine. By the time he has reached the breaking point, his decision to pursue his new profession not only makes sense it seems like a natural evolution. While his character never achieves the much-needed chemistry with Jolie, his work in this film is still passable.

Instead of being a team of super-villains like in the original comic book, The Fraternity members are now assassins. Bekmambetov spices the film up with several outstanding special effects scenes, even though no explanation is ever given why certain occurrences happen in the film. As the head of The Fraternity,” which is housed in an old textile plant, Freeman gives his standard authoritatively strong performance that has become so commonplace that he could do it in his sleep. Except for a brief “Lean on Me”/Joe Clark-like moment, he is equally solid.

While the Wachowski brother’s popularized “bullet-time” in “The Matrix,” long-range bullets that come apart on flight and curved-bullet shooting will be lasting legacies of “Wanted.

Jolie channels the persona that is more “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” than Fox. Her character is modeled after “Catwoman” and Jolie does not disappoint almost sensually slinking around from scene to scene. After more recent dramatic turns, Jolie’s ass-kicking performance is highly charged and exhilarating. Equal parts “Fight Club” and “The Matrix” mixed in with the intrigue of both “Daywatch” and “Nightwatch,” “Wanted” is visually potpourri absolutely great to look at but is hollow at its core.

Grade: B-




3 responses

27 06 2008
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1 08 2008
adventure trailers

[…] ice cream. While it may be enjoyable for that moment, the after effects will be neither healthy n Rocks Wanted – Urban NetworkThe director spoke a lot about how this film was an organic […]

14 11 2008

Hi Everybody…

Just joined the forum and thought I’d say hello.

Kudos to the mods on making such a great place to hang out on.

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