Friday, August 29, 2008


Wanted has a few things in common with The Matrix. A lowly cubicle worker who hates his job suddenly finds himself thrown into the center of a much bigger world. He meets a stunningly beautiful (but deadly) woman, and a stoic, wise black leader who likes to talk about fate a lot. Slow motion car chases and bullet trails soon follow.

Wanted even feels like it's an outtake of those Animatrix cartoons that came about before Matrix Reloaded. The main characters have heightened senses that allow them to shoot the wings off of flies, curve the trajectories of bullets, and make cars flip through the air like acrobats. And like the Animatrix, Wanted is way more fun than either of The Matrix's true sequels.

The big difference between those films and this one is that the main characters are assassins. They do have some high minded ideas about the importance of their work on a cosmic scale, but for the most part they are just killers, and they know it.

Wanted is filled with ludicrous ideas that only manage to get by because the movie is self-aware enough to know they are ludicrous. The order of assassins (known as The Fraternity) comes from an ancient sect of weavers, who take their cues from The Loom Of Fate, an actual loom that automatically stitches the names of targets into fabric in binary code. If that doesn't make you want to see the movie, then perhaps nothing will.

The action scenes are completely over the top. During the first car chase Angelina Jolie manages to flip her car over a police barricade, landing on the side of a bus so that the bus falls over, and then continues driving the car off the bus and down the road. During several shootouts the characters knock their opponents' bullets out of the air with their own bullets. It's all silly, but it never ceased being very entertaining.

The story is straight forward. There is a twist, which becomes more and more obvious as it draws near, but it does make the plot much more interesting. And really, the plot is just an excuse for all that crazy action, isn't it?

James McAvoy is really good as the lead. He pulls off both the cubicle drone/action hero sides of his character really well. Angelina Jolie does a fine job of playing Angelina Jolie Fox. And Morgan Freeman shows a side of himself that we unfortunately don't get to see enough of in his other work.

The film's director, Timur Bekmambetov, directed the entertaining but uneven Night Watch, and the wholly disappointing Day Watch. His trademark visual style from those films carries over very well here. He definitely adds some unique touches to his work, so I hope he gets more opportunities to work in Hollywood.

Overall I think Wanted was a ridiculously fun movie, and worth watching. Which is saying something, considering how stupid it is.

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