Can you base an action movie on two special effects gimmicks and a familiar cast? Apparently, the answer to that question is yes, yes you can. Wanted is a movie featuring not only bullet time but also the curving of the bullets as well. Did you know that you can curve your bullet trajectory by overloading on adrenaline somehow? It is a rare ability only a few people in the world have. And all of them have been hired by this movie. All of this means there will be a lot of action and shootouts but what about the main story you might ask? Well, it’s giving off Matrix meets random action B movie from the nineties. Everything about this movie seems ambitious and unhinged.
Wanted is a movie about Wesley, an ordinary guy working a dead-end job who finds out he has special abilities. He then joins a secret coven of assassins to save the world from certain doom. If you think this escalated quickly, I want to remind you that Angelina Jolie made a move on him in a pharmacy. She just leaned against the counter while he was getting his panic attack medications and started talking. And then a bad guy shows up trying to kill him but luckily Angelina, I’m sorry, Fox saves his life. I’m pretty sure I would be also joining a secret coven of assassins if something like that happened. Although you already know that I would prefer to be one of the Hackers with her.
After gaining world fame with the intriguing fantasy movie Night Watch, director Timur Bekmambetov was finally recognized as a talent in Hollywood and got a hefty $75 million budget to make Wanted. And while the audio-visual component of the movie was excellent, the script was mediocre and at times even cringy. Wanted is actually loosely based on a graphic novel with a lot of stuff cut and added. This is why the main characters feel like superheroes and have some of their abilities. And it escalates rather quickly. Not five minutes in and we already have a scene where a guy jumps from one skyscraper to another shooting and flying through the air. The whole vibe reminds me of John Woo action classics of the nineties. Like Broken Arrow or Face Off starring Nic Cage and John Travolta.
Wesley Gibson was just an ordinary accountant working in Chicago when his life was turned upside down. One day he found out that he was the son of one of the most skilled assassins to ever walk the Earth. And that there are people after him. A deadly and beautiful female assassin Fox saves his life and introduces him to the coven he belongs to. However, Wesley will have to train really hard before he can be as deadly as them.
It has to be a divine irony that I was watching this movie back in the day thinking that Wesley is a loser and that I would never do his job only to end up in that same fucking place. And I’m not talking about this site, Rabbit Reviews but my regular, day/main job. Apart from Angelina Jolie, we also have young James McAvoy doing a pretty solid American accent. He was the right choice for this role and showed that great things await him in the future. The supporting cast is surprisingly strong featuring such names as Morgan Freeman, Terence Stamp, and Common. We will also have the opportunity to see young Chris Pratt.
All of them will be shooting, fighting, and running a lot of the time. The stunts are excellent but the special effects are even better. And they still look believable and awesome, some 15 years later. Not only that but they’re also quite graphic. A slow-motion shot of a bullet piercing the skull of a man is something you don’t see very often in mainstream action movies. If ever. In the end, Wanted is a guilty pleasure with a lot of cool special effects and a classic superhero story. So, check it out if you’re in the mood for something like that. There aren’t many movies similar to Wanted but Crank, Shoot Em Up, Hitman, Equilibrium and Atomic Blonde are good choices.
Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Writers: Michael Brandt, Derek Haas, Chris Morgan
Cast: Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman, Terence Stamp, Thomas Kretschmann, Common
Fun Facts: The original graphic novel features a supervillain Shithead, a being created from shit shat out by the most wicked people to ever live.