Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Wanted is based on a graphic novel about a nebbish who has everything going wrong in his life finding his true calling when his father dies.

He's clumsy. He's ridden constantly by his hellish boss, so much so that he's on anti-anxiety pills. Just when you think you're watching a rerun of Joe Vs. The Volcano, something awesome happens. Young Wesley Gibson is shopping in his local 7-11 when a beautiful woman named Fox, played by Angelina Jolie, starts making eyes at him. Suddenly a man in the store starts shooting, she returns fire while trying to keep him out of bullets' way, and the adventure truly begins.

It turns out that Wesley's father, who left his family when he was 7 days' old, was a member of an organization called The Fraternity. The man hunting him, he is told, is the hitman that betrayed the Fraternity and killed his father just days before. Morgan Freeman's character, Sloan, recruits him into the Fraternity and teaches him that he has all the latent abilities and instincts of a natural assassin.

I found Wanted one of the most inventive action movies of the last decade. It's powerful, fast-paced, and yet everything makes perfect sense in the exposition. James McAvoy portrays perfectly the abused office clerk, and even inserts a bit of humor along the way through sheer reaction to his circumstances. Angelina Jolie doesn't have many lines here, but she's very powerful as his teacher and fellow assasin. I had to struggle with disbelief, however, when her skinny arms hoisted a huge AK-something in the 7-11 store, but, hey, it's a small price to pay for a pure adrenaline rush.

I have never seen special effects combined with action like this. There's one scene early where Jolie's doorless muscle car scoops Wesley up as he's crouching down, hoping to avoid being killed. And that's just the beginning.

Director Timur Bekmambetov has truly risen above his promising but dreary sci-fi Russian dramas. Thumb's up.


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