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  Wanted

Starring: James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman, Common

Directed by: Timur Bekmambetov

Produced by: Marc Platt, Jason netter, Jim Lemley, Iain Smith

Written by: Michael Brandt, Derek Haas, Chris Morgan
Distributor: Universal Pictures

 

     Repetition can be used effectively in experimentalist filmmaking, but it’s not usually a reliable tool for a balls-to-the-wall action director to employ. Wanted is proof-positive of this unfortunate fact; the movie fills up 110-minutes worth of space by providing viewers several deviations of essentially two main action scenes. Audiences get to see lead James McAvoy beat up a bunch of times as he trains to tap into his skills as an ass-whooper—he’s part of a semi-genetic line of assassins who have a secret organization that his recently shot-dead father belonged to—and then watch him whoop ass a bunch of times as he reaches proficiency in the field. The exercise can get tiring. And it’s a shame, too, because Wanted’s repetitive passages sometimes lead the viewer to realize how utterly simplistic and derivative the movie just is.

 

     Had the picture run a half an hour less, clocking in at a petite eighty minutes and eliminating all redundant excess, it likely would’ve been a spectacle. In terms of sustained stylistic power, director Timur Bekmambetov’s approach is rock-solid; in his hands, Wanted has all of the gravitas and tonal-command it needs to sweep viewers away when it has fresh material at its disposal. But when Bekmambetov adheres to the movie’s convoluted script—adapted from a comic book by Michael Brandt, Derek Haas, and Chris Morgan—the result is mediocre. Instead of merely blindsiding viewers with adrenaline-pumping action-segments and manic narration by McAvoy, the director provokes in them the realization that they’ve seen all the material before (just in a slightly different form) when their minds begin to wander during reiterative segments.

 

     Repetitive or not, however, Wanted certainly isn’t all bad. The movie does boast its fair share of distinguished assets: McAvoy’s strong force as an actor, supporting actress Angelina Jolie’s sensuous looks, a very clever third-act twist, and the best-staged car chase of the 2000s thus far. I may not be able to fully recommend the film in its entirety, but I certainly recognize the fact that one could do a lot worse as far as summer blockbusters are concerned.

 

-Danny Baldwin, Bucket Reviews

Review Published on: 7.2.2008

Screened on: 6.29.2008 at the Regal Oceanside 16 in Oceanside, CA.

 

Wanted is rated R and runs 108 minutes.


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