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Wanted (2008)

Choose your destiny.

Starring:

Angelina JolieAngelina Jolie

Brian Caspe

Chris Pratt

Common

Dato Bakhtadze

David O'Hara

James McAvoy

Konstantin Khabenskiy

Kristen Hager

Lorna Scott

Marc Warren

Morgan FreemanMorgan Freeman

Sophiya Haque

Terence Stamp

Thomas Kretschmann

Directed by:

Timur Bekmambetov

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 110 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 18

On DVD

Country: Germany, United States

I have a friend who absolutely abhors narration in movies and TV shows—the slightest hint of voice-over and he’s outta there. I myself do not share his aversion, but I gotta say, when Wanted started, I was instantly annoyed. Maybe it was James McAvoy’s passing resemblance to Zach Braff, but I felt like I was watching some unholy crossbreed of Scrubs and Fight Club, only less clever. That initial distaste dissipated, though, and Wanted eventually became watchable and, surprisingly, somewhat enjoyable.

When we meet Wesley Gibson (McAvoy), he’s working in a cubicle and has a girlfriend who’s sleeping with his best friend. He’s sort of a loser, and his lot in life shows no sign of improving. As it turns out, however, changes are afoot, and one day while on a routine trip to the convenience store, Wesley discovers he is the son of a deadly assassin—and, as such, has inherited many of his father’s special killer abilities. Swept up in the 1000-year-old assassins league called The Fraternity, Wesley is mentored by their enigmatic leader Sloan (Morgan Freeman) and taught the ways of the order by the beautiful Fox (Angelina Jolie), leading up to an inevitable confrontation in which Wesley will come face to face with the man who killed his father.

At first, I just wanted Wanted to end. It tried to be funny and introspective and clever with the narration, but, Wesley really did come off like a poor man’s Tyler Durden, and the movie felt like it didn’t know what it was. It found it’s footing, though, and ended up being full of special effects, one-liners, and a few unexpected twisty-twists. Based on a graphic novel by Mark Millar and J.G. Jones, the film comes into its own and takes its place squarely on the side of comic book action—a lot of it felt like there were some guys sitting around talking about what would be “really cool,” and, as a result, there are a bunch of effects that are, indeed, really cool. McAvoy, also, becomes quite the man. Freeman and Jolie are mostly bland—Freeman has a few good lines, and Jolie is probably the most convincing female badass out there right now, but neither has much to do. This seems like it would’ve been better suited for the big screen, but even on DVD, it’s a pretty fun ride, and if you can get past the early stages, this is actually a good, solid action flick.

It's Got: Cool special effects, a definite comic book feel

It Needs: use of its supporting cast, not to think it’s quite so clever in the beginning

DVD Extras Eight Featurettes: “Cast and Characters,” “Stunts on the L Train,” “Special Effects: The Art of the Impossible,” “Groundbreaking Visual Effects: From Imagination to Execution,” “The Origins of Wanted: Bringing the Graphic Novel to Life,” “Through the Eyes of Visionary Director Timur Bekmambetov”; The Making of Wanted: The Video Game, Wanted: Motion Comics, one extended scene, digital copy of the film. DVD Extras Rating: 8/10

Summary

Better than I expected, and better than it seems at first, give Wanted a chance and you’ll find a great looking, somewhat entertaining action film with possibilities.

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