I’ve ‘Wanted’ a film this good all year!

Tue, 07/01/2008 - 4:41pm
By: Emily Baldwin

First let me establish something about “Wanted”: it’s not for the faint of heart. It’s intense, bloody and action-packed, but for anyone who can get past the R-rating and what that entails, it’s a brilliant summer movie.

The film introduces us to 25-year-old Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy), perhaps the most unlikely person to ever do anything of note in his life. He works at a dead end job, has a girlfriend he doesn’t really like all that much and his best friend is the kind of guy for whom the phrase “with friends like that, who needs enemies” was created. Wesley has the belief, which is reinforced by everyone he knows, that he will amount to nothing, and so his life goes, punching the clock, working in his cubical.

That is, until he meets Fox (Angelina Jolie). In their first encounter, Wesley finds himself in the middle of a gun fight between the sexy assassin and an unknown man in the middle of the grocery store. Then things get crazy. Fox takes Wesley back to The Fraternity’s headquarters where leader Sloan (Morgan Freeman) tells Wesley that it is time for him to live out his destiny.

A thousand years ago a group of weavers discovered a unique pattern to their fabrics. Believing that Fate was speaking to them through the thread’s unique pattern, the group formed The Fraternity, a secret society of top-notch assassins. These assassins carry out the orders of Fate, knocking out those whom Fate chooses.

Wesley is informed that his estranged father is The Fraternity’s most talented assassin, but he has been killed by rogue Fraternity member Cross. It is Sloan’s belief that Wesley is the only one who can stop Cross from taking down The Fraternity.

So, Wesley begins to train under Fox and other Fraternity members. His mission: to avenge his father’s death. For the first time in his life Wesley feels like he knows who he is and what his life’s purpose is, and he intends to carry it out.

I was blown away by “Wanted,” which was adapted from a six-issue comic book published in 2004. Directed by Timur Bekmambetov, who was born in the Soviet Union, with the screenplay by Michael Brandt, Derek Haas and Chris Morgan, “Wanted” is what films from the action/thriller genre should be: it’s fast, it’s fun, it gets your adrenaline pumping and it lives in the moment.

Unlike so many action films these days, I never felt that “Wanted” was merely a stepping stone for a franchise – giving us just enough to keep us wanting more, but never going full steam ahead for fear of burning out too early for a second or third installment. Rather, “Wanted” lives, moment by moment, in the story it is presenting to you. From the high speed chases to the bullet-bending gunfights, “Wanted” is visually stimulating and mentally engaging. I even found myself grinning throughout the movie because I couldn’t believe how good it was.

And what a cast! Freeman as the all-powerful leader of The Fraternity was made for roles like this. McAvoy doesn’t drop a hint of his native Scottish accent, and is so believable as a Joe Schmo that you almost forget at the beginning of the film that he’s a legitimate film star. His transformation from a self-conscious loser to a highly trained killer is rapid but fun to watch – if “Atonement” didn’t bump him onto the A-list, “Wanted” will.

And then there is Jolie. She is as comfortable in this role as she is slipping on an old robe. Given her resume, it comes as no surprise that Jolie pulls off the role of Fox with ease, but it’s fun to watch her nonetheless.

Major props to the special effects department. There are several scenes throughout the film reminiscent of “The Matrix” style and these take the movie to the next level.

This is a must-see film for any adult who enjoys a good movie and can handle a little, okay a lot, of blood. For anyone who has followed my reviews in the past, you’ll know that action films aren’t typically my favorites, but this one can appeal to just about anyone.

I highly recommend that you see “Wanted” in theaters, but for those who might be a little more squeamish, it will still be a good watch on DVD.

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