Movie Review: ‘Wanted’ is an action-packed, high-octane adventure that keeps you in overdrive
June 26, 2008
One thing you can say about Angelina Jolie. She sure doesn’t rest on her laurels be it on or off screen.
In a role that resembles a little bit of her “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” and “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” with the Wachowski Brothers’ “Matrix” thrown in Jolie is a nice but just one part of an overall component that makes for an enjoyable adventure.
Russian filmmaker Timur Bekmambetov makes his American debut here in first class fashion after making his own mark with the very cool “Night Watch” and it’s successor, “Day Watch” (“Twilight Watch” is due for release next year).
I don’t know what it is about this summer’s movies but I am so liking these action packed, high octane, over-the-top adventures based on comic book characters that keep you in overdrive throughout the entire movie.
With the continuing cost of crude it seems like the only place where you can see vehicles driving like this that allows you to hit your imaginary accelerator are movies and not feel guilty about it. I doubt we’ll ever see hybrid or electric vehicles in movies where action is concerned unless it’s an entirely green movie.
In a parallel universe similar to “The Matrix” we’re introduced to Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) who is the epitome of an emasculated guy working a dead-end job as an account exec leading a dead-end existence.
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Even his relationship is going nowhere. If ever there were a time to exit this mundane life now would be it. Enter one mysterious and beautiful Angelina Jolie playing Fox, a killer hit woman who saves his life (if you can call it that) and of course will change his life.
In the process some lingering questions that put him in this predicament will be answered and he’ll experience an extreme makeover. Talk about your transformations. Wesley is soon a member of the very elite fraternity known as well, “The Fraternity” where he’ll begin a series of training exercises that will turn him into a one-man fighting machine under the tutelage of Sloane (Morgan Freeman).
“Wanted” is a great vehicle (pun intended) for the young McAvoy who does a great job masking his Scottish accent. His past works have included last year’s “Atonement” and “The Last King of Scotland” from 2006.
And even though “Wanted” is a CGI driven movie that doesn’t require too much method acting McAvoy probably will be seen more in this one fantasy flick than the last dozen he’s been in.
The same can be said for Jolie who pretty much is sexy eye candy with a gun and a need for speed. Then again this movie’s audience is geared toward the young male who either doesn’t have his license to drive or craves a little action.
Okay so I liked it and already have my license but that’s not the point.
With a solid cast and a need to escape into a world that is different than this one really anyone could get into this picture. Maybe it doesn’t offer up much substance but you’ll feel a guilty pleasure of release, as the movie is one wild ride.
Substance or not one thing is certain. It won’t be too long before James McAvoy starts getting the kind of money and notoriety that his American counterparts are already enjoying.
In a scene where a lot of men will envy, McAvoy steals a kiss with Jolie and I kept wondering how many takes did he do in order to get it right. In an interview with Moviefone.com McAvoy said, “I’m always nervous about doing the kissing scenes ” they’re never comfortable, they’re always kind of weird, they’re not enjoyable, do you know what I mean? But the fight scenes, getting beaten up by her all the time is fine, that was fun.”
“Wanted” arrives just at the right time in our society. Years from now if anyone ever decides to look back on this summer of counter-culture, action packed, comic book heroes with a plethora of CGI effects and violence they’ll probably conclude that the summer of ’08 must have been a tense one in the annals of time for the history of this country.
“Wanted” is rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, pervasive language and some sexuality and clocks in at 110 minutes.
” Howie Nave is host/manager of The Improv comedy club inside Harveys and reviews films for seven radio stations throughout Northern California and Nevada, including Sirius Radio. He hosts “Howie’s Morning Rush” on Tahoe’s KRLT radio, and you can see his film reviews on RSN. For past reviews, blogs and audio clips, visit http://www.HowieNave.com.