110 minutes approx
Wesley Gibson -
Written by -
Michael Brandt & Derek Haas & Chris Morgan
Directed by -
Wesley Gibson is an average bloke, painfully average. He has a dead end job with a colleague that is sleeping with his girlfriend and a boss that gives him panic attacks. Only these are not panic attacks, they are adrenaline attacks because Wesley is one of a small group of people who can dump enough adrenaline into their bloodstream to carry out feats of superhuman speed, strength and agility. They are assassins of the Fraternity, a 1,000 year old order that preserves the balance by killing those that need to be killed. One of their number has turned rogue and has killed Wesley's father and now wants him dead. Wesley's only chance is to learn that skills of the assassin and get the kill in first.
If you have seen the russian films NIGHTWATCH and DAYWATCH then you will know exactly what you are going to get with WANTED because director Timur Bekmambetov has applied his, quite frankly, bonkers visual style to a big budget, CGI-heavy action blockbuster and WANTED is the result. This means that you get bullets that curve, in slow motion, faces that smash through plate glass windows, cars that loop and somersault and smash into trains, exploding rats and an awful lot of shooting, none of which is even remotely believable, but which all looks really cool.
To anchor this, he has gathered a stellar cast capable of stopping it all going off the rails. Angelina Jolie is, of course, the epitome of the svelte, but deadly killer with a humanising backstory. Her action credentials have already been more than established and she can handle what's thrown at her here with ease. Morgan Freeman is the Fraternity's leader, a role that really isn't a stretch for him, but he treats it with the respect that it deserves, never sleepwalking, but not exactly throwing himself into it either.
The core of the film, though, is James McAvoy. His transformation from complete loser to supercool assassin is what makes or breaks the film and he is, fortunately, up to the challenge. Whilst the other characters have walked around killing people long enough to act like superheroes (soemthing that they were in the original comic book from which the story originated), he struggles believably with these new abilities, this new life and the twists that the story throws at him.
And the story does have some twists along the way that make it more interesting than some other action movies. If there isn't an adage stating 'never trust an assassin' then there should be. The plot twists are at least more believable than some of the conceits that the film comes up with. The Fraternity takes its orders from a loom that weaves the names of those to be killed into the cloth that it is making in some unexplained mystical fashion. This sets up a final action to the climactic showdown that would have beggared belief had belief not sauntered out of the door an hour or so before.
WANTED wants to be THE MATRIX, which it most certainly is not, but it has enough brio, energy, balls and downright effrontery to get away with all the more ridiculous moments.
You'll laugh, be amazed and never quite convinced, but one thing you won't be doing is getting bored.
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