8 December 2008 | c_p_c
Not a bit of substance...but, who cares?
Putting it bluntly, 'WANTED' was a rather formulaic and predictable outing. A loserly, office shut-in with the help of a hot babe learns about his past and is suddenly thrust into the world of assassination, a world of flipping cars, extreme gun fights, and mind-altering stunts, thus shedding every bit of his shy, weak self. This we've all seen before.
Where 'WANTED' stands apart from any other action film I've seen is in its style. The director has upped the ante on how the action is portrayed. Gone are any sort of boundaries. This is a world where people can flawlessly flip cars over others and land perfectly upright on the other side, where people can shoot from miles away hitting nothing but their target, where people can put such a curve on bullets that they hit multiple targets standing on different planes all with one shot. If people can really do this, perhaps I'm living the same existence as Wesley, and I'm missing out. The film's major selling point is its style and its worth a viewing simply for that.
The A-List cast delivers solid performances, but the script they are given - with the exception of the last line uttered in the film - is mostly generic. James McAvoy is sympathetic and relatable as the guy who is overwhelmingly bored with his life but doesn't know how to change it - something many people understand. His transformation into tough guy is effortless and convincing. Angelina Jolie is Fox - a name quite fitting as Jolie looks fantastic; however, we've seen this character on her before. Still, she does it well. Freeman, as usual, injects intelligence into his role, playing the solemn leader of The Fraternity.
However, for all the edgy extreme events the film contains, the film is hurt by some pieces that are just plain odd and are never fully explained. For one, The Fraternity gets their targets from a secret code that is woven into tapestries by The Loom of Fate. Sounding like something from a Monty Python sketch, it is never revealed who - if anyone - controls the loom or where it derives its powers. Names are simply revealed through code and the members of The Fraternity don't ask questions. The members of The Fraternity are fully human, but seemingly invincible thanks to some sort of special wax bath devised to heal wounds very quickly. It's the film's easy out that allows them to deliver the goods on all the high-octane action they desire. Lastly, the film turns a very predictable corner that many will see coming from miles away.
When the film ends you will realize how simple it is and how ridiculous it is about 75% of the time, but you won't care. The film makes up for every flaw by smearing the screen with mind-bending stunts, unique filmography, and breathtaking visuals - yes, Ms. Jolie is one of them. It will be painfully obvious that all the simple plot details were just the framework and the real substance of the film lies not in its intricate story, but in the execution of its stunts and action. 7/10.