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Wanted (Single-Disc Widescreen Edition) (2008)

A movie directed by Timur Bekmambetov

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Mark Millar and J.G. Jones Comic Series Comes to Life! A Solid Action film that EXUDES Entertainment

  • Dec 21, 2008

WANTED is loosely based on the comic mini-series by Mark Millar and J.G. Jones which has been published by Top Cow productions. The movie is directed by Timur Bekmambetov, the filmmaker who gave us the 2 part Russian mystical action series: "Nightwatch" and "Daywatch". I wasn't a fan of those two films so I went in without any expectations. Surprise! This director seemed to have honed his skills; armed with a larger budget, a great cast and a comic series that has a cult following, "Wanted" is a visually stunning action movie that redefines the term "Popcorn Entertainment".

Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) is an accountant in a dead end job, with a cheating girlfriend and who is flat broke. One day, he encounters a woman named Fox (Angelina Jolie) who after an encounter with a man named Cross (Thomas Kretschmann) takes him to see the head of a secret organization of assassins called "The Fraternity". Sloan (Morgan Freeman) has revealed that Gibson's father was a member and that they want him to follow his father's footsteps. Being his father's son, Wesley has a unique ability to pump more adrenaline into his body than a normal person can. Wesley undergoes extensive training both mental and physical to go face to face with the man who supposedly killed his father; Cross. Little does he know that there is more to everything than meets the eye and truths may lead him to question everything he has come to believe.

"WANTED" is an adrenaline-pumping, fast-paced, soda-slurping, hyper-kinetic solid action film that relies on its visual execution. The way it is shot is directed at our visual senses with outlandish action sequences that is both sexy, dynamic and nearly as groundbreaking as the original "Matrix". This is definitely the film's main draw as the director immerses you into the sequences that looks enchanting, sexy and downright COOL. Once Bekmambetov sets things up, the audience will be treated to one of the most impressive action sequences I've been privy to less than 5 minutes into the film. It was a great move in part of the director, to wake the viewer up and make sure he has your attention for its entirety with a large exclamation point. The film is not pretentious--it knows exactly what it's aiming for.

Now, there is also more to the film that first meets the eye. The film has an effective plotline. These highly trained assassins whose skills borders on being superhuman are not simple killers who get paid to do a job. They depend on mysticism in order to decide who lives and who dies. The tapestry has a close relationship to Norse Mythology's "Weave of FATE" According to which, the three Norns were responsible for weaving the future of man and Gods alike. Well, according to Norse Mythology anyway. Some viewers may argue that this may be a little far-fetched that there should always be someone to pull the strings; well, that's where the film also becomes a morality play. The film has bits of the "revenge" formula but it doesn't really hurt its proceedings.

Wesley Gibson is a simple guy with no ambitions so how does one train him to awaken his hidden capabilities? Simple, first beat the tar out of him. I mean beating him ala-"Fight Club". This may be a step backward to some, but for me I thought it made sense. Some Zen techniques have proven that pain can be used as a tool to chip away the useless things. Adrenaline can be a magical thing, believe it or not. The filmmakers need to be complemented that they picked an actor like McAvoy instead of an ultra-cool personality like Jason Statham. McAvoy maintained that everyday guy image and I appreciated the fact that the screenwriter took the time to develop his character. Gibson is a pitiable character and we saw how he was molded into a highly skilled assassin which was very admirable. Gibson became a different person and he doesn't look like someone intimidating that would allow him to blend in.

It is always good to have Morgan Freeman and having Angelina Jolie around doesn't hurt either. Freeman is his usual sympathetic self and Jolie is her usual mysteriously sexy self. Jolie's character "Fox" is a woman driven into the Fraternity for her own reasons. We saw glimpses of her past but it doesn't really explain much about her which maintains her aura of mystery.

The film does have its faults and some viewers may say that it follows some "already" established formulas; while this may be true, the film does work. Hey, it sure helps when you add an army of lethal rats stoked on peanut butter and explosives. The "curving" of bullets theory may seem a bit over the top but, hey, snipers have been curving a bullet's trajectory when a target is hundreds of yards away. There are also some great bits that comes out of the comic book. The shooting the wings off the fly would satisfy comic book fans. There are nice bits of humor dispersed throughout the film but it abandons it soon enough when the proceedings become all business.

"WANTED" is full of familial vengeance, epiphanies, explosions and rock-solid shoot-outs that borders on insanely cool but also utterly insane. There is an overload of nasty violence and mild gore that would be cause for praise. Shooting through a blown away jugular? Cool. Amid all the violence and comic book mayhem the film finds a soul and the effective twists makes "Wanted" a very rewarding experience.

Just what it is that happens when you become the one thing you fight against?

Recommended! [3 ½ Out of 5 Stars]

Note: look at the name on the cubicle. J.G. Millar--sound familiar?

Wanted movie poster

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July 08, 2010
Great review once again WP, this was a fun one, can't go wrong with Morgan Freeman but I was never a huge Angelina Jolie fan.
More Wanted (2008) reviews
Quick Tip by . May 25, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
It has some cool action sequences, and Angelina Jolie is in it. Those are the two redeeming factors which keep it from the bottom of the pile. Otherwise, this movie tries to get you to believe that being a great assassin is a wonderful opportunity, depends a lot on those inane bullet-time shots which bad action directors have been relying on since The Matrix, and worst of all, tries to give us a pretentious plot contemplating the ideas of free choice and fate. That last one meant the director clearly …
review by . July 22, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
   This movie was recommended to my by a co-worker, and I watched with with apprehension. I normally do not like these types of movies, but gave it a chance. I'm glad I did! Not expecting much, I was surprised by the effects, the plot, and the acting. The plot is obviously based on a comic book which I had never read.  The characters are very interesting, with the main character being a novice trying to learn the ways of the assassins. While each character has a background, we …
review by . April 14, 2009
The online and TV trailers for this movie promised a gun-toting, kick-ass action flick with some skin of Angelina Jolie. And the movie delivers. The premise of the movie is simple; there is an organization of assassins called "The Fraternity". Induction is by personal selection and the ensuing grueling training process. Somewhere along the way, the leader of this Fraternity, played by Morgan Freeman, gives into greed and uses the talents of his organization to kill for hire. One of his subordinates, …
review by . April 07, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Wanted is a Matrix rip-off without a decent plot or any redeeming qualities other than high octane action, great special effects, and Angelina Jolie. If that's what you are looking for, this is for you.     The plot - a wimpy nerd finds out his father was an assassin with special powers is whisked away by the fraternity of assassins his father belonged to, and trained to be an assassin himself. And eventually go after the guy that killed his dad.    Basically …
review by . February 10, 2009
Wanted is a fun an entertaining movie. It is full of action, excellent fight scenes and overall great pace. The movie is about an average guy, or so he thinks, who is recruited into a legendary secret fraternity of assassins. The performances by all the actors were superb and the story played itself well. I just wish that the story would have delved a bit more into the background of the fraternity. I also wished that Wesley's training (James McAvoy) would have taken a bit longer (and thus more believable …
review by . December 11, 2008
Premise of the movie: Wesley Gibson is a young professional who has grown up without a father, and never learned to stand up for himself. His girlfriend is cheating on him with his best friend, his boss constantly berates him, and Wesley goes through life bored and complacent. While picking up his anxiety medication, Wesley is approached by Fox (Angelia Jolie), who tells him that his father has been killed, and that his assassin is now after Wesley. This is where the action begins - Wesley is introduced …
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As the impresario behind gravity-defying Russian blockbusterNight Watch, it's inevitable that Hollywood would come calling for Timur Bekmambetov. With a studio budget and an international cast, including two Oscar winners, Timur cooks up a Hong Kong-styled actioner bursting with fast cars and big guns. Our unlikely hero is mild-mannered Chicago accountant Wesley Gibson (Atonement'sJames McAvoy), whose father died when he was a tot. Wesley never learned to stand up for himself, and his girlfriend, boss, and best buddy all take advantage until the seductive Fox (Angelina Jolie) rescues him from a sharpshooter named Cross (The Pianist’sThomas Kretschmann). After which, she whisks him away to a mansion on the edge of town to meet the other members of the Fraternity, where leader Sloan (Morgan Freeman) informs Wesley that Cross, a rogue agent, executed his father. Sloan believes Wesley has the goods to take him out, so he undergoes the Fraternity's brutal training regimen (Marc Warren and Common dish up some of the abuse). When he's ready, Sloan sends him out to fulfill his duty, but matters become complicated when Wesley finds out someone isn't telling the truth, leading our former milquetoast to exact an elaborate revenge. For those who've been following McAvoy's career to date, Wanted will surely come as a surprise. In adapting Mark Millar's comic series, Timur offers buckets of blood and a smidgen of depth, but fans ofThe MatrixandMr. and ...
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Director: Timur Bekmambetov
DVD Release Date: December 2, 2008
Runtime: 110 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios
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