Wednesday, June 25, 2008

WANTED - offensive, derivative, stupid

Your father died yesterday in the rooftop of the Metropolitan Building. He was one of the greatest assassins who ever lived. And the other one is behind you WANTED is the kind of unintelligent macho bullshit that appeals to the lowest common denominator. In particular, it'll appeal to every pathetic geek who dreamed of being swept into a more exciting life by a hot chick. In this case the geek is the newly buff James McAvoy, who despite the body-building remains far more convincing as the nervous schmuck than as the hard-as-nails assassin. The hot chick is Angelina Jolie, who does nothing more than look cool. Why does a woman of such obvious intelligence and acting ability persist in such roles? Morgan Freeman plays the arrogant prick directing the group of assassins in picking off seemingly innocent people. Apparently it's all okay because the Loom of Fate says so. I was pretty disturbed that this movie took an hour to even ask the question of whether murder is ever justified and by how quickly it brushed it off.

Maybe I'm taking all this too seriously? Let's consign our brains and ethical sense to the boot of the car, and go on pure adrenaline. How does WANTED fare qua action flick? As with all of Timur Bekmambetov's movies, the visual style is MATRIX-lite. It's all bullet-speed photography. The sole innovation is to have the bullets curve. A-HA!!! I'm sorry but that does not fill a 2 hour movie. What you don't get with WANTED is a fully fleshed alternate world that contextualises all the violence. WANTED is about beating the crap out of people. Period. NIGHT and DAY WATCH have higher stakes, and more respect for old-fashioned stuff like proper plotting and dialogue and emotional pay-offs. By contrast, the supposedly emotional plot-twist in WANTED just looks like a cheap rip-off of EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.

Basically, this is a big budget blockbuster aimed at mindless adrenaline junkies. It's got a big cast and a big marketing budget. But don't let that fool you. It's no less puerile and fascist than the widely derided

Don't believe the hype.

WANTED is on release in the UK, Czech Republic, Hungary, Russia, Singapore, Slovalia, Slovenia, South Korea, Canada, Estonia, Finland, Hong Kong, Lithuania, Panama, Poland, Turkey and the USA. It opens next weekend in Italy and Venezuela. It opens on July 16th in Indonesia, Belgium, Egypt and France. It opens on July 31st in Romania and Australia. WANTED opens in August in Mexico, Braziln and Denmark, and in September in Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Japan.


  1. Shame really. I was looking forward to this, but the more I see the trailer the more it leaves me cold. I know with Timur Bekmambetov directing, it's going to be style over substance, but that can be taken too far. Plus it's only vaguely based on the comic as well, which was awesome. Bummer.

  2. I was also looking forward to it. I like the way TB balanced adrenaline junkie style with actual narrative substance in the WATCH films. This was just slick nonsense. Very slick though.

  3. Was I the only person who felt offended by the closing lines of this movie?

    In his closing naration, James McAvoy's character basically calls the audience of the movie 'pathetic' and implies that people with '9 till 5' jobs have no control of their lives, whereas in comparison, he, through violence and murder, does. Does it make a difference if I work 10 till 6? I suppose that without my job I would have been saved from being able to afford the rental for the DVD.

  4. I couldn't agree with you more Craig. Not that I noticed it at the time: my brain was so bludgeoned with bullshit by then.