Thursday, June 26, 2008

WANTED (2008)


: R
: 110 minutes
: Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch; Day Watch)
: Michael Brandt (3:10 to Yuma (2007); 2 Fast 2 Furious), Derek Haas (3:10 to Yuma (2007), and Chris Morgan (The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift; Cellular)
: Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman, James McAvoy, Terence Stamp, Common, Kristen Hager, Thomas Kretschmann, Marc Warren, David O’Hara, Konstantin Khabensky, Dato Bakhtadze, Chris Pratt, Lorna Scott, Scarlett Sperduto

Wanted” is “Fight Club” amped up to be a live action video game. Watching the film opening night at the theaters, which I feel I have to add the crowd was oddly silent for a change, I kept expecting the film to stop and give me the option to press the “X” button to continue on from the dialogue sequences to start playing the game again. It deals with Corporate America anonymity/frustration and what if you got to toss all of it away to become a really cool assassin that hung out with a gang of really cool assassins that had gnarly nicknames like “Fox”, “Gunsmith”, “The Butcher”, and “The Exterminator”? I mentioned “Fight Club” not only due to the Corporate America similarities but also due to the fact that the film feels it needs to tack on a really boring “see it coming a mile away” twist (nothing like the “Fight Club” twist- don’t worry I didn’t spoil it for you- if you don’t see the twist coming anyway, then you were probably text messaging during most of the movie instead of watching it). The action scenes are a clusterfuck of the last few “Mission: Impossible” movies and, of course, “The Matrix”. Are they boring? No, not really. They are entertaining for the most part. They are a tad obnoxious though. The cinematographer (Mitchell Amundsen) feels he needs to throw out every cool hyper image he can at us until, alas, we do feel like we are playing “Wanted” the video game, instead of watching “Wanted” the movie. James McAvoy stars as Wesley Gibson. A Corporate American drone who has a bitchy fat boss (Lorna Scott) who berates him, a bitchy girlfriend (Kristin Hager) who’s sleeping with his best friend (Chris Pratt), and as he tells “Fox” later in the film he “doesn’t know who I am!”. Don’t we all, buddy. Try going to my job for a day and going through twenty fours in my shoes. But that’s besides the point, we are aware of Wesley’s angst through his (once again) “Fight Club” styled narration and then he has a near assassination moment at a conveince store by a rogue assassin (Thomas Kretschmann). He is “saved” by Fox (Angelina Jolie) and quickly informed that he is the son of a recently murdered gun for hire that was part of an alliance that Fox is also part of. Wesley being the son of someone in the alliance has it in his blood to be a natural born killer and through some played out training sequences with neato camera visuals we see that it is, in fact, true. Next step, the band of assassins- who happen to figure out who to kill next due to some weird code that is printed out on some kind of cloth- need to take care of the scum that killed Wesley’s father. Wesley, reluctant at first to join, changes his mind after he finds his father’s savings ($3 million plus) in his bank account)- and in one of the movie’s most enjoyable sequences gets to quit his job and give his best friend what’s coming to him in style. He also gets to show his girlfriend that he can do much better when shows up at their old apartment to retrieve a gun and Fox makes out with him in front of her just to piss her off (who wouldn’t want that?). The entertainment aspect of the movie, I suppose, is not it’s problem. As you will see if you click the Rotten Tomatoes link below, the movie currently has a 73% overall rating, which honestly shocked the hell out of me when I pulled it up. Critics certainly are a finicky bunch aren’t they? Slamming something decent one week (“The Happening”) and then praising a re-hased rather unoriginal action picture they next. I guess even critics sometimes fall victim to a movie’s flashy style-over-substance (which admittedly can work if done correctly) just like normal audiences do too. “Wanted” is not a bad movie, it’s just kind of an arrogant one. It wants to let you know that it has all this style, but it doesn’t want you think hard enough to remember that this isn’t the first time you’ve seen something like this. Guy Ritchie and the Wachowski Brothers were doing this ten years ago. If you see this movie, you will not be bored. You will more than likely guess the plot twist early on and then you can just turn your brain off and watch things go “boom” for the rest of the movie. I’d say you could just watch Angelina Jolie too, but she kind of isn’t in the movie as much as advertised and she’s starting to show her age a little too. When I see her now, I don’t see an actress like I used to (I, for one and call me crazy, never thought she was the hottest lady ever- that award belongs to someone I know). I see a tabloid queen. Her acting skills here don’t do much to make anybody forget that either. The one-liners the dialogue weak screenplay (three screenwriters folks- all of whom have worked on "Fast and Furious" sequels) give her and all the others don’t do much for anybody- her, McAvoy (looking odd not dressed in Victorian era costumes), or Morgan Freeman. But, hey, it’s summer right? These are the kind of movies that are supposed to be coming out. So explain to me how “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” did it so much better (and smarter)?

Download Soundtrack MP3:
Danny Elfman- The Little Things
Danny Elfman- Fate

Find Showtimes Here
Buy Soundtrack Here

Rotten Tomatoes

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