Wanted * * * *

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Director: Timur Bekmambetov.
Screenplay: Michael Brandt, Derek Haas, Chris Morgan.
Starring: James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman, Terence Stamp, Thomas Kretschmann, Marc Warren, Common, Kristen Hager, David Patrick O’Hara.

Action is not normally a genre I’m drawn to but when it’s done without reservation, I can completely enter into it. I, normally, find that the genre always goes a little too far. That being the case, if your going to go far you night as well go all out and be as innovative as you possibly can. This can certainly claim to do that.

Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) is a bored and downtrodden office worker who gets bullied by his boss while his best friend is sleeping with his girlfriend. His life is a shambles. That is, until he is approached out of the blue by the mysterious Fox (Angelina Jolie), a highly trained assassin who is part of a secret society called the Fraternity. Wesley’s father was also a member and now that he’s recently deceased, Wesley is heir to the skills of a master hitman and the Fraternity bring him onboard.

In his first English language feature, director Timur Bekmambetov brings the similar style from his Russian vampire movies “Night Watch” and “Day Watch” and proves that he’s a director that can certainly stage an action scene or two. There are cars that do 360 degree flips, people that leap from skyscrapers, bullets that collide with each other mid-air and even ones that bend round corners, buy hey, it’s based on a comic-book by Mark Millar (also responsible for “Kick Ass“) so anything goes right? The action scenes are sublimely hyper-stylised and delivered with a breathtakingly fast pace. It also stages a lot of the action in glorious slow-motion, encapsulating the moment and allowing the audience the wallow and appreciate even further.
To begin with, the film may instil a certain deja-vu as it borrows heavily from “Fight Club” in it’s premise of a disheartened man, in a dead end job, that finds a new lease of life. Mainly what it incorporates though, is the balletic skills of Hong Kong action maestro John Woo and the gravity defying works of “The Matrix“. Quite simply, it’s ludicrous stuff but riotously enjoyable all the same.
McAvoy struggles a little with an American accent but for the most part he’s good and his performance captures both a sense of humour and an impressive and convincing action ability. A heavily tattooed and vampish Angelina Jolie also gets her fair share of action moments, all-be-it, without much in the way of dialogue. As good as they are though, this is not a film that spends a lot of time or focus on character development. It’s an action movie that doesn’t pretend to be anything else and is all the better for it.

Visually astounding with a breakneck pace that rarely let’s up. It’s exciting, innovative and enjoyable, but most of all it’s fun. Exactly how an action movie should be delivered.

Mark Walker

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44 Responses to “Wanted * * * *”

  1. I love this flick. It is absolute trash but in the best possible way. The loom of fate? Who doesn’t love that?!

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  2. Great review, I need to watch this one again.

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  3. I remember watching a little bit of this on TV and really enjoyed it even though it isn’t very realistic. Nice review.

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  4. daveackackattack Says:

    I should like Timur more than I do. His visual flair is great but the stories are never there for me. Starting with the “Watch” trilogy they were something to look at but I actually got bored watching them. (Well it’s supposed to be a trilogy. That is if FOX ever gets around to greenlighting the third film… Twilight Watch) 9, the collaboration with Tim Burton, was the one that I liked the most even though he only produced it. Don’t get me started on the abomination that was Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. I generally like over the top flicks like Clockwork Orange, Dobermann, Shoot ‘Em Up and Tarantino’s stuff but his kind of over the top just doesn’t do it for me.

    To elaborate a little further I will say your countryman McAvoy was quite good but Jolie was looking a little too anorexic for me on that film and Freeman just seemed out of place. So there was that.

    Ever see this Mark? I thought you might be interested.

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    • I found the visuals on Night Watch and Day Watch excellent but like yourself Dave, I was a little bored by them. “9” I loved and thought it very underrated. As for this film, I can understand people not entirely going for it but as sheer entertainment it works a treat. I’m not that Interested in action movies but when they’re this much fun, its hard to resist.

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  5. Nice review Mark. We all like a bit of light action entertainment now and again! I was about to come and disagree with you on your score because I thought I hated this but then realised it was Salt that I couldn’t stand, I’ve not actually seen this! πŸ™‚

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  6. Meh…….really wasnt a fan of this one. I thought Jolie looked hot, with the tattoos walking out ot the steam room place……but I really dislike Mcavoy and cant believe he gets acting work. I will happily avoid films if possible that he is in. Awful actor in my opinion……

    Nice write up as always anyway Mark πŸ™‚

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    • Ouch! Harsh words on the old McAvoy there sir. It’s not often we disagree but must do so on this occasion. I really him and I think his performance here is well balanced. He’s a convincing action star but also shows some nice moments of humour. I’m glad he gets regular work. Plus, he’s a good Celtic fan πŸ˜‰

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      • Ha yeah sorry, just dont get him. Maybe Im just jealous. He is weird looking and gets to act in movies with hot girls. Doesnt seem fair πŸ™‚

        He ruined this film for me, just has no screen presence, again juts my opinion though.

        So your a Celtic fan eh? Do you support a proper football team as well, like Liverpool for instance, or just Celtic? LOL πŸ™‚

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      • Haha! Liverpool? Is that that team that Celtic knocked out of the Uefa cup a few years ago? I’m sure it was the last time the teams met. Big John Hartson with a thunderously good strike! Celtic went on to the final that year. Good times. πŸ™‚

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      • LOL. I actually played for Liverpool reserves on Anfield in my prime, before injury cut my career short. One of my highlights πŸ™‚ But thats a story for another day.

        Bet you were delighted beating Barcelona the other week? Parked the bus well and truly but did what needs to be done against them πŸ™‚

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      • You played for liverpool? Not bad man. Not bad! As you know there’s a great affinity between Celtic and Liverpool (maybe that’s why every time we collaborate on something it turns into blogging gold) πŸ˜‰

        Yeah, absolutely over the moon about beating Barcelona. Played well against them over the two legs. That’s the thing with Celtic these days though, they’re a good side that’s beaten lots of great teams over recent years. One more game left to reach the last 16. Here’s hoping. πŸ™‚

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      • I was an academy player. Got around a bit, reserves with Blackburn, Barnsley & Preston. Agreed a deal with Preston when I was 15 but got injured and never really recovered………still, no one likes a sob story!

        Maybe that is our secret to our success, the old affinity between fans! πŸ™‚

        Defended for your lives, just hope its worth it and you win your last game to get through. Be a waste otherwise.

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      • That’s a bummer man. Sounds like you nearly made it there. I’ve known a few guys with similar stories but I suppose that’s the nature of it all though eh?

        Yeah, one last game or it’s all been for nothing. Celtic (like Scotland) have a history of fucking it up when it matters though so I’m not entirely confident. Still, we’re at home and that’s a big plus.

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  7. This is one where I haven’t read the comic but as for the movie I really enjoyed it. It’s fun and it’s silly and if you take it at face value, you’ll have a great time. Also didn’t realize the director was the same as for Night Watch/Day Watch. I was really big into those movies/books!

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    • Yeah, I couldn’t agree more here Misty. It doesn’t pretend to be anything other than pure entertainment. As for Nightwatch and daywatch, they were good but I found them quite flawed. Still, Bekmambetov knows how to deliver a particular style.

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  8. I quite enjoyed this one when I saw it on the big screen. The over the top action stuff is fun to watch IMO, that’s why I didn’t mind the Vampire Hunter flick as it’s done by Timur also.

    I LOVE how bad ass McAvoy is in this and yeah he reminds me of Gerry so much. I so dearly hope to see both of them in a movie together, oh man I might spontaneously com-bust!! πŸ˜€

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    • I haven’t seen the Vampire Hunter one but I’ll give it a go someday. I don’t think you’d be able to watch a film with both Butler and McAvoy Ruth. Your poor hubby would be scraping you up off the ground πŸ˜‰

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      • Ahahaha, I think my hubby’s so used to my gushing over GB by now. In fact just today I saw a licence plate with GJB and I immediately muttered ‘Gerard James Butler’ and he said, ‘Oh his middle name is James?’ instead of rolling his eyes πŸ˜‰

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      • Haha! That’s a good man you have there. Not many would feel comfortable competing with GB. πŸ˜‰

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      • Oh I’d NEVER give up my hubby for anyone, not even GB. I can separate my movie crush from real life πŸ™‚ In many ways, it’s GB who can’t compete with him, there’s more to a man than looks and fame.

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      • Haha! Perfect answer Ruth. I hope you show your hubby this response. Saying that, he probably already knows. Good for you πŸ™‚

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      • He..he.. yes he knows, that’s why he’s not bothered by my fascination with actors, well sometimes he’s annoyed if I talk about ’em too much, but I don’t think it gets to him πŸ˜€

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  9. ray brayne Says:

    Loved it. When I went HDTV a few years back, this was the first film I saw and was totally WOWed! McAvoy’s perfect here. A nebbish loser turned superhero, he’s 100% convincing. This is the action genre personified, the type of movie I like on the big screen!
    I agree on McAvoy. I’ve been a fan since season 1 of “Shameless”. I can’t detected any Scots’ accent though?
    Over here you say “Celtic” fan and we think Boston Celtics, the best pro basketball team of all. I’m pretty sure your football team is with a hard C as in Keltic? No? Anyway nice picking, nice 4 stars!

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    • Thanks Ray. I loved it as well. Pure escapism. As for the pronunciation of Celtic: It’s the exact same way as Boston Celtics. No “K” sound.
      Glasgow Celtic Football Club. Fans include: Gerry Butler, James McAvoy, Billy Connelly, Rod Stewart and many other well known folk.

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  10. For the first time ever, I think I have to agree with almost all of what Tyson had to say above about this thing. The wife and I thought it was good to start off and then got silly. I thought the visuals were excellent and I like the guy who played McAvoy’s dad, but in the end I was. Excellent work, Muckers!

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  11. Awesome review, and spot-on. Glad to see another Wanted fan. Such a fun flick.

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  12. Really need to give this film another go. I seem to have missed the boat. hmmmm

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  13. I’ve never watched this. I really enjoyed Millar’s comic, and I knew there was NO WAY they could do it justice on the big screen. I knew theyd have to water it down and cut it up. LOL So… I just stayed away. 😦

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    • I’ve never read the comic Fogs so I’m not sure how accurate they were but this is still a good film. It’s one that you should give a go someday. You can then tell me how faithful it was. πŸ˜‰

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  14. Wow, you quite liked this one. I thought it was just an ok action movie (6/10), but it did have some cool sequences.

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    • I’m not normally into action movies Nostra but when they’re this much fun, it’s hard to resist. I can get into action movies when they’re OTT and stylish and this was certainly that. Thanks man.

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