Thursday, 10 July 2008
Directed by: Timur Bekmambetov
Screenplay: Derek Hass & Michael Brandt and Chris Morgan
Starring: James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman & Angelina Jolie
Now Wanted may not be the most original action product to come along, it may be a very loose adaptation of a cult comic book and many may interpret the main character’s transformation from lowly dweeb to killer assassin thus “doing something with his life” as morally suspect, but Wanted is a big, dirty, foul mouthed, stunt packed summer movie, the kind of we haven’t seen in some time.
Wesley (McAvoy) is that lowly dweeb who is stuck in a dead end job, his girlfriend is bopping someone else, everyone walks over him and he doesn’t care much for the life he has found himself in. Until the mega sexy Fox (Jolie) turns up, brandishing huge weaponry, informing Wesley his dad was once a great assassin and whisking him off to train him how to use guns, take charge of his life and generally kill the hell out of people. Sweet.
What ensues is a somewhat predictable arc as our hero buffs up, goes through training, kills some folks and then realizes his new life may not be everything it seemed. Despite some age old plotting, Wanted manages to spin fresh due in part to some excellent acting, Russian Bekmambetov’s imaginative direction and some truly barn storming action. McAvoy shows why he is the best new kid on the block, effortlessly switching from put upon nobody to gun slinging action god. His transformation is believable (within the comic book environment of the film) and he always keeps Wesley human even when hanging off trains and brandishing double automatics. Jolie is sultry menace and looks to be having fun while Freeman brings his usual touch of class to his limited role.
Having made Russian sci-fi/fantasy/bonkers epics Night Watch and Day Watch director Bekmambetov gets to play with a Hollywood palette and brings everything to the table. Managing just the right balance between drama and action he guides his actors through a series of dizzying set pieces that bring the blood back to the action. Wesley and Fox’s first meeting is adrenaline pumpingly good, the big train scene almost epic in it execution and Wesley’s assault and run through the enemy compound just plain awesome.
Wanted is an action fan’s wet dream. Big set pieces, larger than life characters and a great sense of fun. Don’t pick it to pieces, just enjoy the action ride it delivers and be happy the makers brought the blood, sweat and tears back to the big action flick.