All reviews by Stafford Christensen.
Film is a powerful but subjective medium; this is a personal take on movies both classic and contemporary....
Thursday, July 7, 2011
2008's Wanted is pretty bad. It stars James McAvoy (Atonement (2007), The Last King Of Scotland (2006)) as Wesley Gibson, a dreadfully unhappy, pill-popping, overly-accommodating, and cubical-confined office worker. One day, Wesley is approached by Fox (played by Angelina Jolie) who tells him of his talented assassin father and the similar talent that he also unknowingly carries. Naturally, this news leaves Wesley in a shocked, disbelieving, and altogether cliched state. But after a big, bloated, and ridiculously over-the-top gun battle/car chase - followed by a short period of shock, rejection, and personal "growth" - he joins Fox's team of assassins called "Fraternity" (I kid you not) lead by a dude named Sloan (played by Morgan Freeman). After a few long and drawn out scenes of Wesley being trained and then some more big, bloated, and ridiculously over-the-top action scenes I was happy the movie was over so I could go to bed.
It can easily be said that I did not enjoy this film.... uh.... at all. Wanted is very action and special effects heavy - but none of the action scenes or special effects sucked me into the film. None of the visuals are particularly inspiring and amount and extent of the film's actions scenes go so over the top that it makes Tom Cruise's infamous bit on Oprah feel subdued. Too many times I felt like I was watching a video game demo - and I wanted out.
The script also failed to suck me into the movie. The overall story is inane, boring, and convoluted and plain at the same time; plus, most of the film's dialogue is hysterically lousy. Likewise, I did not get sucked into the characters, mainly because all of the characters outside of Wesley are all 2-D cardboard cutouts of actual characters that could have been and are all lethargically portrayed by actors who look like they would rather be someplace else.
The only thing that Wanted has going for it is James McAvoy, who really is very good as Wesley. He brings characterization and feeling to the lead character and the few amusing moments that can be found in film can be directly attributed to him (except the one scene with the flying computer keys spelling out an expletive, that was a CGI creation). McAvoy is just an impressive acting talent and, while Wanted as a whole is nearly unwatchable, McAvoy's individual performance is quite compelling.
McAvoy aside, when it comes to comic book adaptations or just action films in general, Wanted will leave you wanting - yearning, aching, thirsting, craving, etc. - for something else.