>> Wanted (5.5/10)

WantedIt’s math time! Take how clever the movie Wanted thinks that it is, then divide that by half. Subtract characterization. Add stupidity. Take a scene in which two bullets collide with each other in slow-motion and multiply that scene by eight. Subtract all body fat from Angelina Jolie. Divide your audience into two groups–the people that will think this is stylish fun and the people who will think this is silly garbage. Add me to the people who think that it’s silly garbage.

James McAvoy is Wesley Gibson, put-upon office schmoe with no control over his life, who discovers one day that his father was an elite member of a secret group of assassins called The Fraternity. Taken under the wing of Fox (Angeline Jolie, playing the world’s sexiest big-lipped skeleton) and advised by the group’s leader Sloan (Morgan Freeman playing Morgan Freeman), Gibson has every right to want to kiss his old, meaningless life goodbye and become a super-totally-awesome killing machine, especially when he finds out that he has the chance to take down the man who killed the father that Gibson never knew.

By the end of his training, Gibson learns how to do physically impossible, ridiculous things with bullets and automobiles, and the movie takes some surprising twists and turns that, suprisingly, you won’t give two diddley craps about. Cars will flip over multiple cars, land upright, and keep driving, in slow-motion. Bullets will go exactly where the shooter wants them to go, science be damned, in slow-motion. You will look down at your watch, wondering what is playing across the hall, and time itself will be in slow-motion.

There is a thin line between dumb and dumb fun. Director Timur Bekmambetov doesn’t seem to know where that line is. Sometimes he does stumble into dumb fun, almost by accident. It’s sort of like he put so many things that he thought people would think was cool into his film, that a couple of them were bound to stick. Wanted is immature and dopey most of the time, amusing and entertaining a fraction of the time.

Did the actors like making this film? There’s not really any feeling that they did, each one phoning in performances like they hope their native Russian director won’t notice how lousy they’re doing because English isn’t his first language. That may sound harsh, but McAvoy in particular, is borderline awful (except when it comes to the physical stuff), Freeman is sleepwalking, and Jolie…Did Jolie have dialogue or did the camera just cut to her every time they needed to show someone raising their eyebrows? I can’t remember.

Wanted may be some sort of violent, zany wish-fulfillment fantasy entertainment for the lowly and downtrodden, but make no mistakes, this is one stupid movie. I know there are going to be some people out there that recognize Wanted‘s stupidity and enjoy the film regardless. There will be fewer still that think it’s actually really good. To me, it felt like a ten-year old boy’s version of what an R-rated action movie should be, with bullets smashing into each other, plenty of f-words, car chases that someone acted out with their Hot Wheels collection, and a girl’s naked butt. Tee f@#$!n’ hee.

5.5 on a 1 to 10 scale

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4 Comments

  1. The commercials make it look absolutely unappealing to me.

  2. Your review is harsher than your rating.
    I agree with your review

  3. Part of me recognizes that the movie was just good enough that there will be people who like it. I know all reviews are opinion, but, for the most part, I try and approach the number scores based on how successful the film is at what it sets out to do, without whether I thought it was good or bad getting in the way. I don’t know if I’m making any sense right now. I’ll post something soon about the 1 to 10 system because I got similar criticisms about my score for Wall-E.

  4. this movie opens to 50 million?!?! egad, i fear what the sequel will be like.


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