Wanted: Dead or Alive?
I finally got to watch Wanted last night. The last movie I watched was Kung Fu Panda, and I'm kinda pissed that I missed The Incredible Hulk and Prince Caspian in theaters (as penalty, I'll be sure to buy the Blu-Ray versions). Anyway, my movie drought ended finally, but did I regret it or not?
Wanted is based on the comic book by Mark Millar about super villains. Whereas the original source material was all about amoral assholes with an ending that basically says 'EFF YOU' to any reader sappy enough to care about the characters, the movie takes a softer approach by making hero Wesley Gibson just a repressed wimp instead of a egocentric selfish bastard. On the less good side though, it also downgrades the story from being about supervillains with super powers to just a bunch of professional killers, some of which can do some neat tricks with bullets.
Starting off life as a nobody in a go-nowhere job, His girlfriend is cheating on him with his best friend, he's broke and constantly plagued by anxiety attacks. But one day his dreary life changes forever when Fox (Angelina Jolie), a professional assassin and member of the mysterious Fraternity finds him and tells him about his father, whom Wesley had thought up and left him and his mother when he was a week old. Apparently, his father died just the other day, and the man who killed him- another assassin named Cross (Thomas Kretschmann) was now after Wesley. After a harrowing car chase complete with Car-Fu similar to that in Speed Racer, Wesley finds himself among the Fraternity's odd bunch of killers/textile workers (apparently the Fraternity started off thousands of years ago as weavers). Their leader, Sloan (Morgan Freeman) tells him that he's one of them, an assassin of unequalled skill and power. And he's the only one who can kill Cross. But is there really a caged lion inside this mouse of an accountant?
Wanted is uneven for me- it's certainly got lots of flashy, eyebrow-raising CG action sequences (usually involving cars), but I found the ability to 'bend' or 'curve' bullets kinda hokey, and didn't really make me too impressed with the Fraternity, or it's nondescript members who never really get to play up their roles aside from searing-hot Angelina herself (who is, for some reason, the only female member). The story's interesting anyway, and the action was unusual so in the end director Timur Bekmambetov's style from the Daywatch and Nightwatch movies pays off.
James McAvoy plays a pretty convincing dope in Wesley (say, maybe he'd make a great new Peter Parker) and his performance is funny when it needs to be. Morgan Freeman has a nice twist in what seems to be his usual noble role, while Angelina Jolie seems to have put in her contract that she has to look gorgeous and impressive in every freakin' frame of film she appears in. She's pretty smoldering in this film... including one pretty impressive bit of nudity (I wonder if it was actually her though)...
Wanted sadly dispenses with the superhero trimmings of the overrated original and substitutes in fancy CG gunplay as well as a more palatable hero and ending. If you didn't read the comic, you'll find this a stylish and fun, mature action romp.