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Wanted movie review

July 26, 2008

After the initial release delays (what’s up with movies suddenly coming out several weeks later in Europe?) I managed to see Wanted yesterday. I must say during the viewing I had a strange sour feeling of disappointment, which only changed a bit afterwards, when I discussed the movie with a friend. For those who have not yet read the graphic novel, I suggest to first go and see the film or you might expect something different, like I did. There is not much left over from the book accept the introduction, the training montage and the fact that the hero joins an organization that is above the law. The moral abyss from the graphic novel is replaced by a deep sense of righteousness, which gives the hero of the movie a more likeable character. He is not a heartless killer anymore, but a fighter for the good of mankind. This fact alone (changing the tone so drastically) left me with a deep feeling of: “something’s just wrong here”. Still, the movie is good enough in the way that it works as such. The story they have created is by far not the one that Mark Millar had conceived in his book, but the changes are consistent with each other and the story works.

So what is this movie about? First of all it might be pointed out that if you are a bit squeamish and close your eyes, when you see blood, you should see another film. The hero is a Joe Everybody, who hates his job and his life and is given the opportunity to join a group of assassins called the Fraternity and take control of his life. His father, one of the best killers in the world (yet apparently not good enough) is killed by a rogue agent, and the Fraternity believes that his son is the only one who could kill the renegade assassin. Style and violence wise, this flick can compare itself with The Matrix and Equilibrium (which you should see if the name doesn’t ring a bell). There are an abundance of bullet cam slow-motion shots, close-ups of bullets entering all kinds of human extremities and massive amounts of blood and gore to make every action fan happy. Most of these action sequences are visually stunning; the assassins can curve bullets around corners, they are such perfect shots that their bullets deflect bullets in mid-air (which becomes a bit repetitive after the third time) and they apparently have a special bath salt which makes them heal faster.

The action and visual effects are all very well done, but I can’t help to be disappointed by the outcome of this movie. The main actor James McAvoy didn’t convince me, Angelina Jolie was hot but not really good and Morgan Freeman’s career has also seen better days. All in all it was a cool movie that was missing something to make it special. And no, extremely cool and stylish ways to shoot bullets alone won’t cut it anymore.

Wanted on Rotten Tomatoes

Wanted on IMDB

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