Wanted redefines the action genre with its elegant violence and over-the-top action sequences. Not since “The Matrix” have the laws of physics been broken so beautifully. The fact that the plot makes no sense is entirely irrelevant.
The film's predictable story is based on a comic book by Mark Millar and J.G. Jones and adapted for the screen by Chris Morgan (“Cellular”), erek Hass and Michael Brandt (“3:10 to Yuma”). However, with Timur Bekmambetov (“Night Watch”) directing, the action sequences are so relentlessly entertaining that the context doesn’t even matter.
James McAvoy (The Last King of Scotland”) stars as Wesley Gibson, an angsty office slave cut from the same cloth as the narrator in “Fight Club.” Gibson hates his life, and rightly so. His girlfriend cheats on him with his best friend, his boss abuses him with a red stapler, even ATM machines mock him. Salvation comes in the form of Fox (Angelina Jolie) who plucks the reluctant hero from his droll life of paper pushing and thrusts him into the fabulous life of flashy and arbitrary assassinations.
Gibson is taken to the headquarters of a band of assassins led by Sloan (Morgan Freeman). Sloan fills Gibson in on the fact that his father was a world-class assassin that was killed by a traitor, and only Gibson can claim vengeance.
The film attempts to create the same brand of black humor found in “Fight Club” and falls short. The “moral” of this amoral story, more or less “do something with your pathetic life”, is shoved down the audience’s throat. At one point McAvoy speaks directly to the viewer asking “What the f—k have you done lately?” This attempt at being edgy and in-your-face ends up feeling forced and unnecessary.
McAvoy excels in the more dramatic moments of the movie. While his portrayal of a anxiety ridden nobody is at times obnoxious, McAvoy shines as soon as he gets his hands on a gun. Jolie was born for this part. No one else combines sex appeal and violence quite like her. The role of Sloan was perfect for Morgan Freeman, an actor who has played God in two movies. Hearing the respectable old actor curse delivers more shock value than any number of bullet-ridden bodies or exploding rats.
While Wanted is guaranteed to deliver adrenaline pumping action for an hour and forty-four minutes, the plot isn’t anything to write home about and you won’t be relating to the characters. If you do, seek help immediately. C+.