25 Jun 2008

Screen Time: WANTED

Review by Matt C

Cast: James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman, Angelina Jolie, Terence Stamp
Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Runtime: 110 mins
Certificate: 18
Release Date: 25 June 2008

Just a warning, I try to avoid spoilers as much as possible - and I’m not really going to reveal much below - but some people may not want to read on if they prefer a completely unsullied experience….

I’ve not read Wanted, Mark Millar & J.G. Jones comic book mini series, since its release in ‘04/’05 so my recollection is a little hazy. While I realise this movie version has jettisoned a lot of elements from the source material, if you’re not gonna go up the nihilistic path and instead are looking for an alternative to a secret society of supervillains who’ve killed off their heroic counterparts so they can rule the world from the shadows, maybe a secret society of assassins who “kill one to save a thousand” isn’t such a bad idea. But having them receive their orders from a Loom Of Fate (!)…… I’m a comic book fan, I’m obviously quite susceptible to the far-fetched and the fanciful, but that was something even I had difficulty swallowing!

Still, I might have let that slide if the movie really grabbed me by the balls the way I was hoping but, while it’s a fairly enjoyable way to pass a couple of hours, it lacked the spark, the wow-factor, to knock it up to the next level.

The main problem is a script that doesn’t really give any of the characters (bar McAvoy’s Wesley Gibson) room to breath, and provides them with motivations across the board that are a bit questionable. McAvoy is rather good in the lead role, morphing from an inconsequential office drone into a deadly assassin as convincingly as is possible in this kind of movie, but Jolie doesn’t have much to sink her teeth into and for the most part has to make do with the two-dimensional sleek and sexy approach (which, admittedly, she does rather well). Freeman pretty much phones it in and the increasingly impressive Common rarely gets an opportunity to make his presence known. Oh yeah, Terrence Stamp is in there too, but just barely!

The hyper-kinetic action scenes are largely the film’s main selling point, and they’re efficiently handled by Nightwatch director Timur Bekmambetov, particularly a skillfy staged train-bound sequence that ends an exhilairitng display of total carnage.

Although it has its moments Wanted doesn’t quite deliver the goods – if you’re a frequent visitor to the flicks then you might want to give it a look; if not, save your pennies for The Dark Knight in a couple of weeks and wait for this to arrive on DVD. 6/10


Unknown said...

I was really on the fence about whether or not to see this film. Some trailers look awesome (mostly the foreign and red band ones) and other look utter generic-action- movie shite. Might still go and see it, but I won't cry a river if I have to wait till the DVD release.

Tim Knight said...

Such a disappointment. I felt I could have been watching a knock-off of Bad Boys or The Bourne Identity for all the uniqueness this had.

Matt C, I think your review hit the nail squarely on the head... in fact, you might have been too generous :-)

I'd have only given a 4.5/10 and that was mainly for McAvoy's performance and Angelina Jolie just being gorgeous!

Matt Clark said...

Surprisingly it seems to be getting a really good response from a lot of people - I guess there's no acounting for taste!!