Wanted (2008)

Genres - Action  |   Sub-Genres - Action Thriller, Fantasy Adventure  |   Release Date - Jun 27, 2008 (USA)  |   Run Time - 110 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Derek Armstrong

Timur Bekmambetov made an astoundingly original vampire movie, Night Watch, in his native Russia, then an underwhelming sequel, Day Watch, which couldn't build on the first. Continuing that trend for his English-language debut, he's filmed a totally standard addition to the gravy train of summer blockbusters, albeit one with a certain visual flair. Wanted wants to be The Matrix like no other Matrix knockoff. Not only is James McAvoy's Wesley Gibson the same kind of office drone as Keanu Reeves' Thomas Anderson, but the two might work in the very same office, and the drudgery of Wesley's daily existence is bludgeoned into us via Nine Inch Nails' "Every Day Is Exactly the Same," a typically on-the-nose choice. While the Wachowskis made "bullet time" famous in The Matrix, Bekmambetov takes this the next logical step, allowing his characters to curve the flight path of their bullets. Wanted shares the obnoxious quality of a film like Shoot 'Em Up, whose sole purpose was to gather every remaining gunplay gimmick a person might dream up. Bekmambetov takes that one step further by also tackling every unexploited car stunt, with cartoonish results. But perhaps the silliest thing about Wanted is a different matrix -- the matrix of threads that propels the plot. The targets for assassination are selected by deciphering a code from the weavings of a giant loom -- you read that right, a giant loom. Morgan Freeman should be embarrassed to be the decipherer. The group's motto is "kill one, save a thousand," but what about the thousand who unceremoniously die in a train wreck set piece midway through? They're never spoken of. As for Angelina Jolie, the main reason many people will see this film, she's sufficiently badass, but that's it. Her character never develops one iota, which says a lot about Wanted.