Judge Brett Cullum curves bullets and flips cars with Angelina Jolie. You don't believe me?
Our review of Wanted (Blu-Ray), published December 2nd, 2008, is also available.
Wesley: Have you ever thought about doing things differently?
Wanted is the proud bastard child of The Matrix, Fight Club, and La Femme Nikita. The silly action is nowhere near the classic status of those influences, but it is a fun roller coaster ride with a rocking soundtrack. In some ways, what more could you ask for? Wanted is an orgy of fantasy blitz that will ask you to suspend all belief and simply enjoy the ride. The film has comic book origins, although the graphic novel by Mark Millar and J.G. Jones is loosely interpreted with major changes to the plot of the source material. Wanted marks the first American production of acclaimed Russian visualist Timur Bekmambetov who made a huge splash with his Night Watch and Day Watch films. You come for the highly inventive visuals married with stellar star power, and leave satisfied as long as you don't expect anything that could happen in the real world. It's a fever dream of bullets, babes, and hot cars.
Facts of the Case
Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) lives a life of quiet desperation, and attention is not being paid. He feels like he is an insignificant asshole with a nondescript cubicle job, an addiction to anxiety medication, and a nagging girlfriend who is having an affair with his best friend. He never knew his father, and is convinced he left seven days after he was born out of disappointment. Then one day a mysterious woman (Angelina Jolie,Lara Croft: Tomb Raider) shows up at the drugstore counter and tells him his destiny is to become a supernatural assassin working for an ancient order. The lady claims she knew his father, who had bigger plans for him, and Wesley is to be a tool of fate rather than its victim. She takes him to her leader (Morgan Freeman,Lucky Number Slevin) who explains things a bit more eloquently, and soon Wesley finds himself in a world where gravity merely is a concept and physics has no validity. The assassins can bend bullets and flip cars in impossible ways that makes their jobs the fantasy of every junior high school boy who dreams of being something more than just average and boring. They receive orders from a large loom that tells the Fraternity who needs to die to keep the world safe and sound. But is everything too good to be true?
The graphic novel and this film don't share many things other than a passing resemblance to each other. In the comic the Fraternity is an outright evil organization that has gotten rid of all the world's super heroes and made everyone forget they ever existed. They are super villains bent on destroying the world rather than noble assassins hunched over a loom wanting to save thousands by taking out one. The graphic novel's Fox is more a "Halle Berry cast in a blaxpoitation film" character, Wesley more like Eminem with an office job, and most of the rest of the film's cast are not present or radically different. The Morgan Freeman character isn't even in there, and the plot about Wesley and the legacy of his father is a construct of the screenwriters which was mere subplot in the original.
This edition of Wanted puts the main feature on the first disc, and all extras on a second one. This makes it easier to have a "bare bones" single disc product, and then all the collector's editions that include dual DVDs the only ones with additional features.
Technically the DVD is a strong transfer with a solid sound presentation as well. The film is dark, and black levels are handled well along with the strange saturation levels of color. The five channels are engaged by the audio track, and there's no problems with any of that. There are two versions of the packaging including the simple slip case cover, or collectors can opt for the more elaborate box set which includes some swag and a bullet blasted cover. Either way the presentation and extras are the same.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Seems the biggest complaint about Wanted is how unbelievable it is, and that it feels like a Matrix rip-off. It's still a fun time no matter how derivative it may seem, and it certainly beats the crap out of any Matrix sequel. I don't understand the gripes about the physics of what these guys are doing, since this is established from the opening shots as a comic book style film where assassins can curve bullets and hit targets miles away. It seems useless to argue the most outlandish elements of the film when it starts off with a guy leaping through a glass window and shooting the whole way across. Did you expect it to get more realistic from there?
If you want a good looking action film that has wonderful fantasy elements and a strong cast, then Wanted is one of the best rides out there. Only Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie could make me believe in bullet curving assassins who get their targets assigned from an ancient loom, and the deftly stylish execution makes up for the silly elements. Glitzy and gory Wanted makes you wish more action films had this elaborate sense of humor about their subjects.
Guilty of being a hot mess of fantasy and action, Wanted borrows all
its elements to make a bullet riddled collage of epic proportions.
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