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Movie Review: Wanted

Wanted: Overflowing With Blood, Bullets, Testosterone

A few things Wanted is not: quiet or steadily shot. It's also not all that enjoyable. But then again, I'm surely not the target audience for this film. Watching the early trailers for the movie I was initially intrigued by the visuals — the way you can see every shard of glass as someone leaps out a window, for example. But the repetition of the same old thing — no matter how cool at first — gets tiresome, as is the case with the visuals (and the gratuitous violence) in Wanted. Often set to loud, racing music (or loud, brooding music), much of the movie would be better used in 3-minute segments on MTV (or whichever channel actually plays music videos).


James McAvoy plays poor, spineless Wesley, an accountant with major anxiety issues who is full of self-loathing, perhaps due to being walked over all the time. His boss is a heinously abusive woman, his coworker is sleeping with his girlfriend (who's also heinously abusive), and he just lets it all happen to him. Then he meets Fox (Angelina Jolie), a hot lady who tells him his heretofore absent father was actually a talented member of an assassins circle known as The Fraternity and was recently killed by a rogue member of the group. The Fraternity's leader Sloan (Morgan Freeman) recruits Wesley into the ring because Wesley has special assassin abilities and they need him to go after his father's murderer. What follows is a story of the unlikely pipsqueak "everyman" becoming an action hero by being as violent as possible. For more on this,

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The bottom line of the mostly weak story is that men can't be happy or in control of their lives unless they are violent. True, in this case Wesley doesn't even remotely stand up for himself in the beginning, and people should try not to be doormats. But Wesley learning to toughen up and be a man means getting horribly beaten (though nothing a warm, magical bath can't cure!) and then learning how to brutalize and kill others without that pesky conscience weighing in. And not that it's unusual in this genre, but women are barely included — oh, except for the smoking Hottie McFierce whose name in this case hilariously says it all (Fox) and who exists to slither around killing people and somehow beating Wesley to a pulp with her matchstick arms.

The gore is, I guess, supposed to be so preposterous that it's almost funny, which has been known to happen, like in Shoot 'Em Up. Or perhaps it's meant to be stylistic, in the vein of Kill Bill. But there's something insanely off about the violence in this movie, as though it means not just to entertain but to provoke people to be violent themselves. It's so sexy! Look how hot Angelina Jolie is! Don't you want to be like Angelina Jolie, or be the kind of guy who gets Angelina Jolie to respect him? Being a man — being a strong person in general — is achieved only through violence and aggression, and the visuals, the music, the pumping adrenaline coursing through James McAvoy make it all appear seductive, easy, and fun.

Oh, and we get to watch rats full of peanut butter explode. Yeah. Rats full of peanut butter.

I would say it's not slow-moving because the story clips along swiftly, but director Timur Bekmambetov seems extraordinarily obsessed with slow-motion, and the movie is probably about 20 minutes total if all those slowed-down moments of brutality and bullets slicing through air were run at normal speed. In truth, Wanted is pretty long for what it is: a testosterone-fueled bloodbath with a cute protagonist.

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ohbaby7 ohbaby7 8 years
I loved it, it wasnt deep, i didnt expect it to be, but it was a great action flick that got my adrenaline pumping
i-am-elle i-am-elle 8 years
I loved the movie. :) And I LOVVVEEE James McAvoy, so that helped a lot.
soapbox soapbox 8 years
Meh, I spent $10 bucks on this, it wasnt spectacular, but it wasn't bad. The plot was okay, but I think that they should have chosen a cuter main character. I didn't mindthe slow-mo's and the ending was pretty good. Oh and as always, Angelina looked stunning (though she really should eat a burger or something) Overall, good movie, it's just missing something and a bit predictable.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 8 years
I loved this film so much.
JEWELS22 JEWELS22 8 years
I actually really loved the movie.. i loved the action and it was funny and Angelina Jolie is very good at playing the bad/sexy girl and she was a little funny too:) i believed it and i loved it. I usually don't like those kind of moives. Even my hubby was Surprised that I like the movie so much:):):):): it was well worth the $10....
abcde abcde 8 years
I actually loved the movie. True it was VERY loud, but I really enjoyed it. And I don't think I am the "target audience" (26yro female) All of the acting was superb, and what set this action thriller apart from other mindless killing movies is the caliber of actors that were involved. Morgan Freeman! Terence Stamp! and the highly underrated Thomas Kretschmann. Well worth your $12.
Katya1967 Katya1967 8 years
I think it is common knowledge here and all over the web that the administrators of Popsugar are Angelina detractors -- all you have to do is read between the snarky captions they put on Angelina items -- but they can't resists the hits. When ever does Popsugar get the kind of hits it gets with an AJ item? "Wanted" is a film that can be best experienced on the big screen -- it is going to suffer a lot of its impact on DVD or television size screens. That was one of the great tragedies of Warner Bros. dumping "The Assassination of Jesse James." The cinematography was brilliant and now will be lost forever tot he small screen.
gossipqueen gossipqueen 8 years
I think Buzzsugar just doesn't like Angelina Jolie, lol...or action movies. :p
sydneyalias sydneyalias 8 years
I really enjoyed the movie. Obviously, as has been said, it's not about realism. One of the reviews I read compared it to the Matrix and I have to agree. The action was crazy and the camera work and effects were great! The scene with James busting through the warehouse toward the end was SO awesome! I want to see it again just to watch that scene! Go to see this without expecting anything other than a fun romp and you'll enjoy it!
kristyrk kristyrk 8 years
I saw it and liked it well enough. I got more of a "fulfill your destiny and you'll be happy" sort of vibe than a "you won't be happy until you're violent" message. But yeah, there's a ton of violent scenes that even I had to shield my eyes from!
ehadams ehadams 8 years
My boyfriend and I both loved this movie, and judging from the laughing and cheering in the packed audience, so did most other people in the theatre... It is an exciting, over the top, action movie- you don't go to it for Oscar winning performances or realism. It is supposed to be fun and crazy and a way to escape for a couple of hours. I didn't even find it that violent- the violence was so silly and comic-book-like that it was hard to take seriously. The violence in a movie like Zodiac, which was very realistic, disturbed me waaaaaaaay more than this. For a movie like this, if the trailer doesn't appeal to you, then you probably won't like it... otherwise check it out!
gossipqueen gossipqueen 8 years
WHAAAAT! this review is BULLCR*P!!! Seriously! If you go to see and ACTION, R-RATED move...hoping to find the meaning of all human existence...you're on crack! this movie was fun...LOTS of fun...one of the best action movies for a while! Obviously not for chicks who love drama!
yiddidea yiddidea 8 years
I guess I went into this knowing what to expect, so I really enjoyed it! The movie was just as fun as the preview promised it would be. Sure, the car chases were totally unbelievable, it was crazy violent and you seriously had to suspend your disbelief, but I got all of that from the preview. James proved yet again that he can do anything and do it well. Angelina was perfectly cast here and despite looking rail thin she maintained her firm grasp on the sexiest action star alive title. Morgan Freeman was great as usual, with a few surprises thrown in that are usually reserved for Samuel L. Jackson's roles. ;) All in all, a great popcorn flick for anyone who can handle the violence. Our theater was packed and everyone was cheering and laughing the whole time.
Martini-Rossi Martini-Rossi 8 years
I didnt know what to expect but I loved the movie. It was so entertaining (wasnt looking for reality at all, I mean c'mon)!! It was filled with action and it was funny. Best movie ive seen in a while. This proves that everyone has their own taste in movies and sorry, but critics are really necessary. This is why I never listen to critics, lol they dont know what I like.
sauterhead sauterhead 8 years
I was totally ready to hate this movie, and was dragged to see it by a housemate. I wasn't impressed by originality at all but I was so ridiculously entertained. Worth the price of admission to hear Morgan Freeman curse, also.
illusyve illusyve 8 years
Personally, I was surprised by the plot at one point (if you saw it, you know where I'm referencing). Although I feel it appeals more to the male audience, I thoroughly enjoyed the film and felt it was a very well-done summer action flick. James McAvoy as the protagonist didn't hurt either :P I second clothesline, if you loved Mr. and Mrs. Smith, go see Wanted.
cynchp cynchp 8 years
BuzzSugar - your right you and some people who might be looking for reality in movies are not the audience of this movie --- if you enjoyed the fantasy of Tomb Raider and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, they you would enjoy this movie.
cynchp cynchp 8 years
why are people looking for reality in movies? if you want to see "reality" stick to your TV reality shows. Suzaila - I don't think you can compare Iron man with Wanted because Iron man is about a super hero and Wanted is about an ordinary man learning he has the "instinct" of an assassin. But if you are interested in CG and other camera effects you should definitely watch this.
Suzaila Suzaila 8 years
Is this movie as good or better than ... say "Iron Man"? Cos if it is, I'll watch If not, I'll pass.
saranightly saranightly 8 years
Some of the violence made me cringe, but overall, I thought it was entertaining! Nothing deep or too memorable, but a good summertime flick that my boy and I could both agree on going to see.
stephley stephley 8 years
Sadly Badabing, I think you're absolutely right. Apparently, she's willing to forego any kind of thinking plot to celebrate the coolness of violent action and have a hit.
hellolover hellolover 8 years
I thought it was clever enough, and filmed nicely. I'm not normally into things with this much blood and violence, but it was a good movie for the summer, fun to see with friends.
avdesigner avdesigner 8 years
though i agree the plot was a bit on the weak side (a bit predictable), i still enjoyed this film a lot. and the reviews are NOT that mixed. the number of praises far outweigh the number of negative reviews. 75% on rotten tomatoes (though that rating does fluctuate) is not bad at all. and even mark millar, the comic book creator of wanted, enjoyed the film. yes, the laws of physics are defied, but who cares, it's an action film about assasins, and it's based on a comic book. it's just a film, and obviously, the big sell for the film are the effects and the action. i'm sure a pumped story would have elevated its appeal, but it's just one of those movies that is meant to entertain.
PollyPrissyPants PollyPrissyPants 8 years
There is a first time for everything...and this time it's me not agreeing with a Buzz review. Normally we're on the same page...but I really enjoyed this movie! Gotta totally agree with moineau above... It's not a deep movie by any means...but I think of it more as an "experience" movie. Just sit there, suspend disbelief, and enjoy it in all it's actiony glory...which I did. It's by no means perfect but James McAvoy is pretty much amazing - is there anything he can't be in? His transformation from an anxious, apologetic nobody to someone who fights for his existence is actually the only realistic piece of an otherwise "fantasy" movie (the assassin thing not withstanding). Way more enjoyable then most action movies out of Hollywood!
moineau moineau 8 years
I'm sorry to disagree with you, but I very very much enjoyed it. If anyone out there is into high-energy, balls-to-the-wall action, adrenaline pumping entertainment and general bad-a**'ry, then THIS is for you. Partly pure enjoyment, partly evil-genius, and all around awesome. The actors are great, especially McAvoy and Freeman. The plot is forgettable at times, but this movie is so filled with very-well executed action that it doesn't even matter.
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