a critiQal film review Wanted (2008)

  • DVD
  • Blu-Ray

Plot: 25-year-old Wes (McAvoy) was the most disaffected, cube-dwelling drone the planet had ever known until he met a woman named Fox (Jolie). After his estranged father is murdered, the deadly sexy Fox recruits Wes into the Fraternity, a secret society that trains Wes to avenge his dad's death by unlocking his dormant powers.

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While we were able to see 17 films during our Summer At The Movies – 2008 Edition, there was one we really felt like we had missed out on seeing while it was in theaters – Wanted.

However, since we were a bit disappointed with Director Timur Bekmambetov’s previous vision, , we decided to forgo the film in theaters in favor of more recognizable titles like and .

Now that Wanted has arrived on DVD, however, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on a copy and drove to our local Blockbuster® this past Tuesday to snag a rental copy. Would Angelina Jolie & Co. delight and amaze us in Timur’s first US film, or should he have stuck to making foreign films?

James McAvoy has done a good job recently of not getting pigeon-holed into one role or another, with appearances in films as different as and Atonement. With Wanted he takes on the action hero role, and slips as easily into that as he has into everything else, once again showing how versatile he really is.

His character in Wanted is more complex than he originally seems, just like the film itself. He’s not the typical action hero – in fact, he tends to break the mold for most of the film, portraying a sarcastic everyman that most “office worker drones” can easily relate to.

Living out Every Joe’s fantasy, he is suddenly drawn into a world of guns and destruction that, literally, lets him get away with murder. Even in this crazy action star-realm, his conscience helps him stay connected to both the viewers and a morality code that gives him an almost noble feel.

Angelina Jolie, on the other hand, is perfectly cast as the seductive Fox. Her character is an old hand at the death-dealer business, and has a lean lethality that’s as dangerously appealing as her smoky sex appeal. While Jolie’s character isn’t above using her curves to help ease the path ahead, that doesn’t mean she can’t keep up with the guys in the action scenes either – in fact, more often than not, bettering any of the men around her. If directors are smart, they’ll keep giving her strong female roles like this one, and audiences will be sure to continue to keep flocking.

The rest of the cast, Morgan Freeman included, turn in decent – if not quite outstanding – performances. Freeman seems to be chomping at the bit – at first, anyway – for more screen time, but by movie’s end, the audience gets the sense that Freeman has accepted being delegated to his smaller – yet still vitally important – role.

While Wanted starts out with an interesting premise, fans are sure to be in for a surprise or two by movie’s end. Just like with Timur’s previous film , the plot isn’t as simple as it at first seems, and the viewer is in for a bit of a roller-coaster ride before the movie is finished.

Thankfully, however, this time around that ride is easier to stay with, and the average viewer should be able to keep up with the twists and turns on this one. Maybe that’s partially due to the fact that Wanted‘s first language isn’t Russian (like ) – instead, Wanted is an American film first. No translations required this time around!

On top of that, the plot seems a bit easier to navigate than his previous film as well, due at least in part to Timur’s maturing as a director. Each sequence fits together much better, and the slightly haphazard sequencing of events in has become a much more polished film with Wanted.

While the special effects of tended to overshadow that film, Wanted is able to keep viewers as interested in the storyline as in the impressive special effects.

And impressive is the word for those effects. Whether it’s a man bursting through a window (forming a sort of glass impression of himself as he speeds through the window), or a harrowing car chase through crowded streets, the effects are stunning even in a summer of films where a man in an iron suit took to the sky and a green-skinned giant wreaked havoc on a city street.

While it does seem to pay a bit of homage to , Wanted is no mere imitator. Instead, it stands easily on it’s own thanks to a classic action storyline made fresh again.

Toss in McAvoy and the sexier-than-ever Jolie tearing up the screen admidst a stunning barrage of special effects, and Wanted turns out to be a must-see for any action fan.

Check this one out today.

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