Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Wanted - the 'are you a wolf or a sheep' review
Dir. Timur Bekmambetov
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
It's a choice, that each of us must face:
…remain ordinary, pathetic, beat-down, coasting through a miserable existence, like sheep herded by fate…
…or take control of your own destiny and join us, releasing the caged wolf you have inside…
As a massive fan of the Mark Millar and J. G. Jones graphic novel (which really put the ‘graphic’ into the novel) upon which this is loosely based, I’ve been anticipating Wanted ever since it was announced. It’s the story of chronic loser Wesley Gibson (the excellent James McAvoy), a downtrodden hypochondriac whose girlfriend is sleeping with his best friend and whose lardy boss at his dead-end job lives to make his life hell every single day. Could this Wesley actually be the son of the world’s greatest ever assassin? Might he have an intrinsic killer instinct and be blessed with unnatural ability to curve bullets in mid flight? Yes it’s another one of those geeky heroes who get their wildest wishes fulfilled plotlines but here it is played out as the ultimate balls-to-the-wall action overload.
Wanted should be your first choice this summer for violent high octane, seriously over the top adventure. Timur ‘Daywatch’ Bekmambetov directs the insane pulse pounding action channelling the spirit of Fight Club, Die Hard and The Matrix all at the same time!
From the second that the scales fall from Wesley’s eyes and he enters a world of fast cars, big guns and a badass new girlfriend / mentor named ‘Fox’ (a stunning Angelina Jolie), you can do nothing but buckle up and enjoy the ride. The superhero / villain plot of the graphic novel has been ejected and replaced with a real world secret society of assassins who ‘kill for Fate’ back story. This actually works really well but might disappoint some fans of the Millar original. Anyway, Wesley undergoes a brutal training regime in order to hone his killing skills - his eventual target a rogue assassin named Cross (Thomas Kretschmann) who murdered his father.
Morgan Freeman is on hand as Sloan – leader of the Fraternity who employ this roster of killers and the crunching action builds up to a supremely satisfying climax.
"Jolie as 'Fox'... by name and nature!"
Scenes where the hero has two guns and takes on a host of enemies can be awesome such as in The Crow or Equilibrium but Wanted sets a new benchmark with a truly jaw dropping gunfight. And this comes hot on the heels of the spectacular fights, car chases, assassinations and general devastation delivered throughout; basically this is stupid set-piece action heaven.
Wanted puts McAvoy in the big league for leading man roles and blows the competition away in terms of hardcore action entertainment… bring on the sequel ASAP!!
DARKMATTERS RATING SYSTEM (all ratings out of maximum 10 but '-' is bad whereas '+' is good):
Endorphin Stimulation: ööööööö (8)
+ Top draw wish fulfilment on many levels
Tasty Action: öööööööööö (10)
+ You won’t see better gun action all summer!
Gratuitous Babeness: öööööööö (8)
+ Jolie has never looked better or been cooler
Mind Blight / Boredom: ööö (3)
+ Cracks along at a great pace
Comedic Value: öööööööö (8)
+ There are some decent funnies
Arbitrary final rating: öööööööööö (10)
Essential viewing for graphic gunplay action fans!!
Liable to make you:
"quit your job, become an assassin, live by your own rules…"
DM Poster Quote:
“the answer to that big fat void in your life… is WANTED"
"did I prefer the graphic novel? sure - but both are great (and different)..."
Fox: I knew your father.
Wesley: My father died, [pause]
Wesley: the week I was born.
Fox: Your father died yesterday in the rooftop of the Metropolitan Building. He was one of the greatest assassins who ever lived.
And the other one is behind you...
Wow, just seen The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw's review - talk about a sheep, sorry, a guy with a different and obviously valid opinion...
Guardian gets the wrong end of the comic book stick_review