Angelina Jolie is unique among A-list actresses. She can be wild and strong, but she can also pull off emotionally charged characters. I just love her in movies like Tomb Raider (she’s born to play Lara Croft!) and Mr. and Mrs. Smith. So when there’s a chance to see Jolie holding a gun again, of course I wouldn’t miss it.
Wesley (played by rising Scottish star, James McAvoy) is a frustrated office worker, your dictionary definition of a pushover. He knows that his girlfriend is cheating on him with his so-called best friend; he knows everyone hates their boss but still sucks up to her. He spends most of his salaries on drugs for his panic attacks, while he has to cope with his boss’s irritating nagging and the thunderous noises from the train that passes by his shabby home every morning. One day, out of nowhere, a girl approaches him, claiming that she knew his father, who was a exceptionally skilled assassin, and takes him on a crazy car chase. Wesley finds out that she’s appropriately named Fox (Jolie), and she belongs to a society of assassins called the Fraternity. They want to recruit him for his natural killer instincts – literally – and train him to avenge his father’s death on the hands of a rouge member…
Wanted runs in the vein of revolutionary action films like The Matrix, defying all laws of physics and biology. Bullets can make a 360° turn, act as a defence mechanism by crashing into and cancelling out each other, and break apart in mid-air to conceal ballistics. Cars can fly, flip, and land like masterful stuntmen, allowing their divers to elude pursuers or to make a smooth kill. Bodies can sustain incredible amount of abuse and heal just as incredibly by being submerged in a special bath. But let’s face it, people who like movies like this probably are not looking for logics. They want action and cool special effects, however unbelievable they may be. While I couldn’t help but feel silly, I was sure that the majority of the audience sitting in the theatre with me enjoyed it, judging by the ooh’s and aah’s and the laughter and applause.
The best thing about Wanted, in my opinion, is the casting. McAvoy makes his name playing roles like this, timid and quiet. This makes his character development and the final confrontation so much more liberating. Seeing him stand up to his boss and cheating friend and take control of his life is one of the best moments in the movie. Jolie is sexy as ever, although she could have packed more muscles. I blame Hollywood’s sick standard of skinny beauty for her hollow cheeks. She seems to fully enjoy driving gravity-defying cars, shooting bullets that send message and death to their takers, and just being a sexy assassin. Many people say that Samuel L. Jackson is the coolest black dude there is, but Morgan Freeman can give him a run for his money. As Sloan, the leader of the Fraternity, Freeman is a powerful presence both when dealing out assignments or challenging others to make a decision about their lives. It’s also surprisingly refreshing to hear his muttering profanity, even though I’ve always admired him in classy roles as well.
Wanted is an out-of-this-world action thriller. Based on a graphic novel (it seems like the hot trend these days), it’s no wonder that it does not concern with reality. With a twist in the plot near the end, which you could figure out if you pay a little more attention to details, it is a fun and entertaining popcorn flick for the summer. If you can throw logics out the window, that is. Of course, the eye candies that are Jolie and McAvoy don’t hurt, either.
NOTE: All photos © 2008 Universal Pictures