Wanted (2008)

Dir. Timur Bekmambetov

I can’t really rate this because I didn’t get to see the last part of the film (because Zane was not very happy), but I wouldn’t recommend this film. This is the type of film Larri usually likes, but even she didn’t like it (3/10). Maybe John would like it; Penny and Joel might think it’s OK (but I doubt they would like it more than that).

The film is about an office worker loser, Wesley (James McAvoy), who really has the pedigree of a super-assassin. Wesley is soon recruited by a secret society of assassins because he is needed to stop a “rogue” assassin who has turned on the society and killed Wesley’s father. We see the society–particularly Fox (Angelina Jolie)–train Wesley into the great assassin he is meant to be. The other part of the film involves Wesley going after this rogue assassin. The film is basically an action/sci-fi in a similar vein to Matrix, in terms of action sequences and even this idea of a nerdy loser who is really a great hero that must save the day.

Unfortunately, the story and characters just felt flat to me. Now, I wouldn’t be totally surprised if other people had a different reaction (the average imdb score based on 3,000+ votes was a high 7), but Larri’s usually less picky about these things than I am, and even she didn’t like the story and characters.

Sometimes the direction and casting can bring life to a weak story and characters (as written)–e.g. The Incredible Hulk–but that doesn’t happen here. James McAvoy (the new Russell Crowe?—well, the jury is still out based on this film), Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman have strong enough screen personas to bring life to otherwise uninteresting characters, but they didn’t do it for me.

Some of the action sequences were pretty good, too. They were the type of over-the-top that sequences that I find satisfying even though they are ridiculous. But the film just didn’t have life for me (again, I didn’t see the end, but I don’t think I missed much, after Larri explained what happened).

I also saw Wanted this past weekend. Reid, did you see the 6:45 p.m. show at Dole? I heard a baby crying, but it didn’t sound like the Z-man.

Anyway, I had mixed feelings about this movie. Some aspects were cool and clever and even (to a certain extent) “realistic” in the world the movie created. Other things bothered me, but I can’t really say what they are without giving up too much of the movie. Anyone soooo interested in my opinion can take me out for a cup of coffee and hear more than they care to about it. (What? No takers? What a shocker!)

Here’s what I can say: One thing I did not like was the ending. The very end. Another thing…Morgan Freeman swears twice. It was jarring because it sounded so unnatural. (Not the narrator of March of the Penguins!) I did care about the characters though and felt the leads (McEvoy and Jolie) did a fair to good job.

I may have been disappointed, because I think this movie had the potential to be so much more than it was.

No, we weren’t at that showing.

What were the things that bothered you?

See, now I didn’t think McAvoy and Jolie made their, otherwise dully written characters, live. I think the way the dialogue was written had something to do with it; also the direction–specifically, the way the scenes established the characters and the story. That’s not real specific though. Perhaps, the lack of an interesting back story of the assassin group and their abilities explains part of the reason. The characters in the Matrix series weren’t very interesting on paper, but the premise of the story and the way the story developed was so good that the characters didn’t matter so much.

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