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Monday, September 15, 2008


***½ Wanted. Action/adventure.

Directed by: Timur Bekmambetov
Starring: James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman, Angelina Jolie

I saw this with Carl weekend before last at the theater on post. I didn't know anything about it--hadn't seen any previews, didn't know who was in it. Carl had seen the previews, and said it sounded like something I'd like. Nice thing about the theater on post: it's just a 10-15 minute walk from the house.

The story, in case you're as clueless as I was: Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) is a bit of a loser--works in a cubicle for a nasty boss; his girlfriend is cheating on him with his best friend... is it any wonder he has to refill his anxiety medication?

Which is what he's doing when a woman (Angelina Jolie) approaches him, tells him his father died yesterday rather than shortly after Wesley's birth, that his father was a great assassin and that he, Wesley, has the same physical attributes (some sort of hyper-adrenalin thing--it's why Wesley thinks he needs anxiety medication), and The Fraternity, the society of assassins, needs him to catch the rogue assassin who killed his father.

It's obviously based on a comic book series, like a lot of recent movies. I haven't read or even seen the books, but it was evident from the set-up. The superhero aspect, the special baths that heal severe wounds in minutes (hours? it wasn't real clear), the assassins getting their orders from a loom, in the form of irregularities in a piece of weaving, and of course shooting bullets in a curve--all indicators that the original form of the story was a comic book. Now that I've said it, I'm not sure why that is, but it screamed "comic" to me. Over-the-top-ish-ness, maybe.

I wasn't at all familiar with James McAvoy, and the beginning of the movie felt like, say, Clerks--a less-than-slick comedy about disaffected 20-somethings. Once the shooting started, it changed completely. So I was a little disoriented. Possibly if I'd seen the previews and known what to expect, that wouldn't have happened.

The stunts are really the stars of this movie. The car stunts are some of the most memorable, and you've probably seen them in the trailer: flipping the car and shooting someone through the sun roof; scooping Wesley up while the car's spinning... Lots of cool stunts. And the way Bekmambetov depicted the various characters shooting curving bullets was very clever. Not an easy concept to translate from graphic novel form to live action film, but it worked.

There was some exploration of Wesley's confusion at being abruptly tossed from one life into another, but I'd have liked more--and perhaps a little less of the "training" that consisted of various assassins beating the tar out of him. Not that I'm squeamish (though I always have to close my eyes at knife scenes, regardless of the movie), but I got the point. It went on a little long.

The big twist was telegraphed a little too much, and I figured it out well ahead of time. And the ending could have been explained a little better.

But all in all, it was entertaining, and worth watching.

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Hmmm, I was looking forward to watching this movie...now I got to re-think. But of course I never let anyone sway me to something that my mind have already made up. So I be watching the movie *grin*
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