For the Review
Whoever said that “actions speak louder than words” was clearly the driving force behind “Wanted,” a film profoundly based in pumping adrenaline and surreal movement. There is really little need for words in a film like this, one that tells its story through series of gunshots, car chases and lots of blood spilled on lots of pavement. “Wanted” takes place in a movie world where nothing is sacred unless Morgan Freeman says it is. Cops are no match for the cunning characters and justice is defined by Angelina Jolie’s extremely large lips. “Wanted” is a take-no-prisoners action flick that starts fast and never stops, letting the action do all the talking.
What little is said is spoken by Wesley Gibson (played by James McAvoy), a 21st Century anti-hero who’s amid an existential crisis and takes medication for his constant anxiety. His girlfriend is cheating on him with his best friend, he never knew his father, he works in a dead end job and he spends quite a bit of time googling himself, only to find that his search did not match any results. Wesley’s world gets turned upside down when he meets Fox (played by Angelina Jolie), who narrowly saves him from a shootout at Walgreens, of which he seems to be the focal point. He is then told that his late father was an assassin in their elite group of killers known as “The Fraternity,” and like his father, Wesley is able to do really cool things like curves bullets, control his own heart rate and take hits like a champ. This is all to Wesley’s surprise, and it is Fox’s mission to train him to follow in his father’s footsteps, avenging the man who killed him. Morgan Freeman plays the Fraternity’s leader who tells Wesley that their job is to control fate “killing one, saving a thousand.”
Even within the confines of the gratuitously violent action genre, “Wanted” is quite a lot to handle. The film opens with a bang and never looks back. It is filled with your clichés typical of a film like this, all knowing old man, wisecracking main character, sexy lady who is a total badass, and yet it finds some credibility by carving out some originality. The camera work is quite superb, some scenes even upping the ante on The Matrix-like style. Instead of having a score that utilizes only synthesizers and electric guitars, this film makes room for a great orchestral work that is surprisingly effective in such an action film. The chases are stunning, the colors are bright, the narration is quirky and funny, and the locations are out of this world. Oh yeah, and the fights are REALLY cool too.
“Wanted” takes some big risks with its cartoon-like storytelling, edgy action sequences on trains, and its liking for shocking the audience, (has Morgan Freeman ever said “mother fucker” on screen?) but the reward is substantial. The film does take itself a bit too seriously towards the end, but overall, “Wanted” is a fun, fast, and slick movie that doesn’t slow itself down with details, but instead favors kicking action into overdrive. Grade: B+