REVIEWS

Kevin's Review: Wanted - The Beauty of Blood and Bullets

by
June 26, 2008

  • US Release Date: June 27, 2008
  • Genre: Action, Thriller
  • MPAA: Rated R (for strong bloody violence throughout, pervasive language and some sexuality)
  • Running Time: 110 minutes
  • Directed by: Timur Bekmambetov
  • on IMDb
  •    8/10

Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) reaches a breaking point amid his cubicle doldrums and smashes his ergonomic keyboard across a colleague's jaw, dislodging keys, blood and teeth. As the bloodied bits slowly fly towards the screen, the keys laughably spell out "Fuck You." It's not a particularly poignant scene in Wanted, but it does embody the hyperbolic, gratuitous ass-kicking that is Russian director Timur Bekmambetov's American debut. McAvoy is joined by Angelina Jolie, an actress who effortlessly (and fittingly) beams temptation of and indulgence in all that is provocative -- guns, cars, violence, sex. Blood and bullets have never been so stylized, never so sexy.

Jolie plays an assassin named Fox who is part of an ancient order of assassins called The Fraternity that is presently led by Sloan (Morgan Freeman). Not just your everyday professional killers, some of the group's members possess superhuman abilities, including the skill to curve the path of bullets. Gibson is recruited into The Fraternity after his estranged father, who possessed such abilities and was the world's foremost assassin, is himself killed. Sloan and Fox know of the genetic potential hidden in the mundane account manager, and that Gibson is the only one who can bring down the kingpin of killers - his father's killer - Cross (Thomas Kretschmann).

James McAvoy and Angelina Jolie partner up as assassins in Wanted.Wanted Review

Gibson's recruitment into The Fraternity is an extended, bloody mess. The group's tutelage is far from polite and largely relies on instructors such as the Repairman and the Butcher, beating lessons into Gibson until he passes out. A knife through the hand isn't so much a worry, however, considering the waxy aromatherapy tub the group uses to speed recovery of injuries. Other superhero-like aspects exist in Wanted, namely Gibson's ability to produce buckets more adrenaline than a normal person, which affords him outlandish strength, endurance and focus.

Director Bekmambetov has outdone himself with Wanted. Back in Russia, he was responsible for two of the most successful films in the country's history, the coupled Night Watch and Day Watch. The vampire thrillers are some of the most outrageous, hyper-kinetic takes you'll ever see, and you should see them.

Wanted takes many cues from Bekmambetov's previous work, including the ever-present, guiding force of fate. In Day Watch, it was the hokey "chalk of fate" that allowed one to rewrite history. In Wanted, it's the "loom of fate," which knits messages into textiles at The Fraternity's headquarters, informing the order of who to kill next. Where Bekmambetov's previous two thrillers partly become victim to their own overabundance of action, spinning out of control, Wanted skids and slides just enough to keep us gripping our seat, while still maintaining a balanced course.

James McAvoy's character Wesley Gibson quickly changes from a wimpy nobody into a full-fledge assassin in Wanted.Wanted Review

Unlike most films of this genre, writers Michael Brandt and Derek Hass (both of 3:10 to Yuma and 2 Fast 2 Furious) and Chris Morgan (The Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift) weave a surprisingly tight story that manages to avoid unraveling towards the end. There are loose threads, of course: the repetitive talk of fate gets to be a bit corny, in parallel with Gibson's voiced monologue; his transformation from a unmotivated yes-man to a ballsy killer in just a few weeks is also sloppy and contrived. Nevertheless, it seems Bekmambetov has found quite a nice tethering for his exuberance for violent exaggeration.

Wanted is a masochistic indulgence - the to-the-face violence, blood and excitement is so forceful, it leaves you bruised and begging for more. And considering the story's ending and recent news on a possible sequel, we can all confidently pucker up for another hit.

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  • moldybread
    I am sure it is just me but I cant help but feel like the best Hollywood can do now days is some sh*t that sounds like preschoolers playing make-believe at recess....are ther never gooing to be any more movies for grownm-ups???
  • http://www.quanahblaine.com Quanah
    Well written review Kevin. This makes me anxious to see this film, and it helps to set my expectations as well.
  • ozzy0069
    I just got back from a sneak preview of the film. Let me first say that I am a huge fan of the comic, and that this movie has almost nothing to do with it. That being said I enjoyed the hell out of Wanted. I would agree with almost everything Kevin said. Yes, the fate talk does get to be a bit of a drag, but the voice over works very well. Wanted is extremely violent and visually stunning. I walked out of the theater quite suprised.
  • Josh
    That's because no one ever grows up, moldybread. We're still just the same little kids running around playing cops and doctor like we used to . If we're lucky, we make it to high school. But that's about it. But I suppose by "grown up" you mean a movie where someone dies and everyone cries about it instead of shooting each other. Go watch the mist. It'll make you feel better. Conversely, I agree. My god! Yet another movie with girls, guns and morgan freeman? This is why I've been complaining so much that they didn't STICK TO THE BASE MATERIAL! Because the original comic wasn't just the same old bag! It was something brand spanking new! It WAS for grown ups! But they've taken that part out and replaced it with generic, guy-meets-girl-shoots-gun formula. "Jolie beams temptation and indulgance" Big deal! She does that in EVERY movie! But enough. I'm sure it's a good ol' action romp. If you like guns and car chases and girls and the freeman and you don't have any standards on ripping someone else's idea to shreds in the name of generic profit, go ahead and see it. Everyone else can wait for the dark knight.
  • Darrin
    this is one film i really have high expectations for.i can't wait for some great over the top action.
  • D
    I can't fucking waaaaaaaaiiiiiiiitttt!!!!!!!!!!!! Bullet time, bullet time, and more bullet time! If 3 Matrix's weren't enough (which they weren't).
  • B4tS
    looks great, but i think i'll watch for for Wall-E first
  • NotCool
    Just got home from the 12:15am screening and have to admit next to Iron Man this the best movie out this summer. In a lot of ways it reminded me of fight club with the narration but it was grossly violent and sickly funny. Cant wait to go see it again
  • Roderick
    Nice review, I can't believe that I will have to wait till November to see this, usually here in The Netherlands we get movies releases at the same time as in the US, I don't understand why with this one we have such a huge gap. Oh, well, I guess I'll have to wait...
  • The Brain
    How does a disassembled keyboard spell out "Fuck You"? Are there 2 u's on his keyboard?
  • http://www.firstshowing.net Kevin Powers
    haha...good catch, Brian. I saw the film again last night and the last 'u' is actually the guy's tooth upside down :)
  • The Marcus
    Great review, thank you for being civil and unbiased (unlike Alex and all of his stories about this movie). Also thank you for not mentioning that this movie is based on the comic because it is not, it has almost nothing to do with the comic.
  • AJ
    just got out of the film the first 3/4ths of the flick are awesome, I've never read the comic so I didn't know anythign about it going, but the film itself was great. The last 10 minutes or so of the film I wasn't thrilled with it seems to me that not only with this movie but htat Hollywood in general is having trouble finding good endings to solid films, but that is my 2 cents. I think if you enjoy action films with good dialogue and some plot twists this 1 is worth seeing in the theatre.
  • Spider
    Great flick! Good acting, cool plot, a really good twist, great action! A big plus to Angelina Jolie's (ass)ets!! Definitely worth checking out!
  • Omega
    my favorite line with in that whole movie was the very last thing said by Wesley. when the movie comes to an end and hes gone from being a pathetic piece of crap to a badass assasin. he looks TO THE AUDIENCE and says " SO WHAT THE FUCK HAVE YOU DONE LATELY?". that line made me clap as the credits rolled up.
  • http://www.rgbfilter.com Doug
    Sorry, but there's no way this movie deserves an 8 out of 10. Up until the last 25 minutes, it would be a solid 8, but the moral choices, and horrible decisions made by the writers during the climax make this a recommend ONLY for the cool effects from Bekmambetov. Horrible ending ruined an otherwise decently bloody summer popcorn flick.
  • Conrad
    Garbage. The best thing about this is the trailer. Morgan Freeman was exceptionally bad at whatever you would classify his character. He wasn't intelligent, he wasn't raw, it just looked like he was hanging around laying down lines. At the end, he didn't see 1ft x 1ft X made of "yellow" post-it notes on the floor he was walking on? - BULLSHIT! He's a fucking assassin he should be able to literally spot that from a mile away. The whole action sequence with the bullet crashing into each other was cool....at first! They really prostituted that gimmic. If you have it once, great, it really stands out. I will put down money that they ripped that off of "The Shadow" from 1994 - they did better then too. I'm with number 16 - 8/10 rating? This is for the MOST a 4/10.
  • Josh
    I have to say something. I went to the movies the other day and I actually saw Wanted, after being on a great movie streak of Hancock, Wall-E, and the Hulk. And I have to say, I'm glad I saw it. Because now I don't feel bad at all about what I've said about it. I know, You're expecting me to go on a 12 page rant on how little resemblance the movie has to the comic book, which it doesn't (70% my ass, Mark Millar!); but the great thing about Wanted is that it's not just a bad adaptation, it's a horrible stand alone movie as well! Hooray! If it wasn't for the matrix, I don't know what they would have done, because half the movie was in slow motion! That's fine if you want to slow it down a couple of times to show detail, but they were just doing it every other scene! My God! Who was smart enough to think that slowing down a movie speeds it up? When Fox goes to kiss Wes and it takes a full minute, I could just feel my life being slowly drained away. And no one other then the three main characters said anything! The script must have been ten pages. Sure, that can work for Wall-E when each character knows how to emote; but since every assassin was trying to be a card-board cut-out of a bad-ass, I felt it hard to feel anything about any of them. It's not bad ass it's just bad acting. No back stories, no quirks, I think the gun smith from Smoking Aces only said one line through the entire movie! The only thing I felt when Jolie kills herself was joy, but only because she fucked up the fox's character so much. The music was horrible. A bland uninspired score that not only didn't add anything to the experience but took away from the over all action. For some strange godforsaken reason I felt reminded of Harry Potter in one of the scenes, which is something you NEVER want in an R rated action movie. And they used the same song like 4 times. And I was sitting next to a sound designer, so I know it wasn't just me. And the main plot, which yes, had nothing to do with the comic book, was the same cookie cutter plot as every other sub par action movie. What? A reluctant hero has to train to avenge his father's death? And not just that, the bad guy he's going after is actually the good guy? And the big boss he was working for is actually the bad guy? Oh noes! Oh, and do you think he'll use that exploding rat considering it's the only sup plot from a minor character? Oh look he does! What a grand fucking surprise! This is why all us fanboys were worried that he wasn't sticking to the story, because in abandoning an original story, he embraced a tired, overdone one. Honestly, everyone can probably stop reading here. We all know where we stand. And it just gets worse from here. But damn it Alex! This is what you get for making me feel bad about myself to actually give this piece of crap a chance! I did wanted to give it a chance too! Because you really shouldn't judge something before seeing it, and because if I hadn't read the comic book I might have gone to see it, but no more! Next time I'm going with my fanboy gut instinct! And what the hell? Exploding rats? A loom of fate? (A loom is one of those old timey things they made clothes on. Morgan Freeman makes a blanket, reads the blanket, and gets the names of his next assignments from a secret code IN the blanket. No, I don't get it either.) Seriously?! Maybe it's just me, but it seems like all the new ideas they put into the movie seem more ridiculous and less believable than the ideas they took out of it. Yes sir, I'll take a shapeshifting shit monster over peanut butter guided exploding rats any day. And Wesley, the one you hear from the most, always sounds whiny. We never really feel like he's gone from pencil-pusher to bad-ass, he just always sounds like a whiny little insecure bitch that needs to get fucked. Which he never does! You'd think after all the talk of the sultry Angelina Jolie being in the movie we'd at least get a nice half naked sex scene. But no. All we get is one shot of Jolie's ass. Big deal. Go rent Gia. It wouldn't be so bad, but now it just feels like Wes is a master assassin by the end of the movie, but he still has to beg for sex. Just sad. And what was the moral of the story? Do what you're told. Yep. We went through all that and that's the freakin' moral. Unless you wanted to count the sub-moral of "it's better to be normal and have a half-ass job with a cheating girlfriend than to be different or unique," which I don't think you do. See, Wes's father, the assassin, gave him up, because he didn't want the same kick-ass assassin life that he has, he WANTED Wesley to be a depressed pencil pusher with a cheating girlfriend (all not in the comic book). How fucked up is that?! But I guess that's Universal's way of saying, "It's ok your life is shit. If you were special, you wouldn't be happy! Be glad you're a no name who hasn't done shit with his life. Just go see another movie!" Which I guess is fine because that's the usual movie message. But C'mon Mark Millar! Do what you're told?! That's what hurts the most. Because at the end of reading his amazing comic book, he tells you to go do something with your life. He tells you to stick it to the machine, follow your own way, screw destiny, BE DIFFERENT AND ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING WITH YOUR LIFE! And you actually feel bad about yourself for just sitting there reading a comic book. What happens at the end of the movie? SPOILER ALERT! It's revealed that Morgan Freeman's name came up on the loom's list of people to kill, so he'd been giving out phony assignments. Then in the very end, he reveals that all of the assassins' names had come up on the loom, including Jolie's, and he gives everyone the choice of sticking to destiny and shooting themselves or fucking destiny and shooting Wes. (And honestly, I have to give points here because this has to be the first time I heard Morgan freeman say Mother Fucker) I might have been happy with that. Just Maybe. But what happens? Jolie kills everyone, including herself. What the fuck?! Why? We just found out 5 seconds ago that Morgan Freeman's been lying about the assignments, and she believes him?! No that's fine, I'm sure he was telling the truth now. It's definately more important to do what the LOOM tells you to. So what's the moral of the story? Always do what Morgan Freeman tells you, even if it's to kill yourself. It hurts. It really does. Oh, and it's not like the comic book. 30% at best. There are maybe 3 good scenes ( the keyboard scene, the over the top limo kill, and the final gunfight) and that's it. I have no idea what you saw in this, giving it an 8 out of 10. Just horrible. Bleah. I'm going back to read the comic book.
  • Josh
    I have to say something. I went to the movies the other day and I actually saw Wanted, after being on a great movie streak of Hancock, Wall-E, and the Hulk. And I have to say, I'm glad I saw it. Because now I don't feel bad at all about what I've said about it. I know, You're expecting me to go on a 12 page rant on how little resemblance the movie has to the comic book, which it doesn't (70% my ass, Mark Millar!); but the great thing about Wanted is that it's not just a bad adaptation, it's a horrible stand alone movie as well! Hooray! If it wasn't for the matrix, I don't know what they would have done, because half the movie was in slow motion! That's fine if you want to slow it down a couple of times to show detail, but they were just doing it every other scene! My God! Who was smart enough to think that slowing down a movie speeds it up? When Fox goes to kiss Wes and it takes a full minute, I could just feel my life being slowly drained away. And no one other then the three main characters said anything! The script must have been ten pages. Sure, that can work for Wall-E when each character knows how to emote; but since every assassin was trying to be a card-board cut-out of a bad-ass, I felt it hard to feel anything about any of them. It's not bad ass it's just bad acting. No back stories, no quirks, I think the gun smith from Smoking Aces only said one line through the entire movie! The only thing I felt when Jolie kills herself was joy, but only because she fucked up the fox's character so much. The music was horrible. A bland uninspired score that not only didn't add anything to the experience but took away from the over all action. For some strange godforsaken reason I felt reminded of Harry Potter in one of the scenes, which is something you NEVER want in an R rated action movie. And they used the same song like 4 times. And I was sitting next to a sound designer, so I know it wasn't just me. And the main plot, which yes, had nothing to do with the comic book, was the same cookie cutter plot as every other sub par action movie. What? A reluctant hero has to train to avenge his father's death? And not just that, the bad guy he's going after is actually the good guy? And the big boss he was working for is actually the bad guy? Oh noes! Oh, and do you think he'll use that exploding rat considering it's the only sup plot from a minor character? Oh look he does! What a grand fucking surprise! This is why all us fanboys were worried that he wasn't sticking to the story, because in abandoning an original story, he embraced a tired, overdone one. Honestly, everyone can probably stop reading here. We all know where we stand. And it just gets worse from here. But damn it Alex! This is what you get for making me feel bad about myself to actually give this piece of crap a chance! I did wanted to give it a chance too! Because you really shouldn't judge something before seeing it, and because if I hadn't read the comic book I might have gone to see it, but no more! Next time I'm going with my fanboy gut instinct! And what the hell? Exploding rats? A loom of fate? (A loom is one of those old timey things they made clothes on. Morgan Freeman makes a blanket, reads the blanket, and gets the names of his next assignments from a secret code IN the blanket. No, I don't get it either.) Seriously?! Maybe it's just me, but it seems like all the new ideas they put into the movie seem more ridiculous and less believable than the ideas they took out of it. Yes sir, I'll take a shapeshifting shit monster over peanut butter guided exploding rats any day. And Wesley, the one you hear from the most, always sounds whiny. We never really feel like he's gone from pencil-pusher to bad-ass, he just always sounds like a whiny little insecure bitch that needs to get fucked. Which he never does! You'd think after all the talk of the sultry Angelina Jolie being in the movie we'd at least get a nice half naked sex scene. But no. All we get is one shot of Jolie's ass. Big deal. Go rent Gia. It wouldn't be so bad, but now it just feels like Wes is a master assassin by the end of the movie, but he still has to beg for sex. Just sad. And what was the moral of the story? Do what you're told. Yep. We went through all that and that's the freakin' moral. Unless you wanted to count the sub-moral of "it's better to be normal and have a half-ass job with a cheating girlfriend than to be different or unique," which I don't think you do. See, Wes's father, the assassin, gave him up, because he didn't want the same kick-ass assassin life that he has, he WANTED Wesley to be a depressed pencil pusher with a cheating girlfriend (all not in the comic book). How fucked up is that?! But I guess that's Universal's way of saying, "It's ok your life is shit. If you were special, you wouldn't be happy! Be glad you're a no name who hasn't done shit with his life. Just go see another movie!" Which I guess is fine because that's the usual movie message. But C'mon Mark Millar! Do what you're told?! That's what hurts the most. Because at the end of reading his amazing comic book, he tells you to go do something with your life. He tells you to stick it to the machine, follow your own way, screw destiny, BE DIFFERENT AND ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING WITH YOUR LIFE! And you actually feel bad about yourself for just sitting there reading a comic book. What happens at the end of the movie? SPOILER ALERT! It's revealed that Morgan Freeman's name came up on the loom's list of people to kill, so he'd been giving out phony assignments. Then in the very end, he reveals that all of the assassins' names had come up on the loom, including Jolie's, and he gives everyone the choice of sticking to destiny and shooting themselves or fucking destiny and shooting Wes. (And honestly, I have to give points here because this has to be the first time I heard Morgan freeman say Mother Fucker) I might have been happy with that. Just Maybe. But what happens? Jolie kills everyone, including herself. What the fuck?! Why? We just found out 5 seconds ago that Morgan Freeman's been lying about the assignments, and she believes him?! No that's fine, I'm sure he was telling the truth now. It's definately more important to do what the LOOM tells you to. So what's the moral of the story? Always do what Morgan Freeman tells you, even if it's to kill yourself. It hurts. It really does. Oh, and it's not like the comic book. 30% at best. There are maybe 3 good scenes ( the keyboard scene, the over the top limo kill, and the final gunfight) and that's it. I have no idea what you saw in this, giving it an 8 out of 10. Just horrible. I'm going back to read the comic book.
  • burak
    well, dudes, Wanted is a comic book adaptation which loosly got his roots based on the comic and made something more relaetable and believable. (in the comic its all out gore and explosions between super heroes and super villians in spandex and not only from our world but et's too) so what Mr B has done is great, take a more brightly colored, more hyped, spandex filled story, tune it down some, make some minor some major tweaks, repackage, add some of his own visual aesthetics, stirr it a bit (not shake :P) and voila you get a fun movie to watch with great action scenes :D i am newly aware of this site, most of the commenters know their stuff but some of us dont even bother to get the basics of the movie, try to grasp where the movie the idea originated, or lay it on the dissection table for what it really is, "a means of entertainment" and evaluate it in regard to the genre it represents as opposed to a general check list to decide if it was a good or bad movie. each title needs to have its own checklist. and i believe Wanted deserves a straight 8 IMO :D

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