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June 2008

by Wilson Morales


Distributor: Universal Pictures
Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Screenwriter: Michael Brandt, Derek Haas, Chris Morgan
Cast: James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman, Angelina Jolie, Common, Kristen Hager, Konstantin Khabensky, Terence Stamp


While most of the summer actions films that are out are either from comic book films or sequels, here comes a film that totally is all action with some humor and drama and makes you want to go back and see it again, and again. 'Wanted' is certainly one of the most stylized action films to come around since the first 'Matrix', especially when it comes to the close-ups with the bullets. With a beefed-up James McAvoy leading the way along with the always-looking-sexy Angelina Jolie and mentor Morgan Freeman in the cast, as well as still-learning-the-game-but-getting-there Common, 'Wanted' is an action oriented film that gives the audience what they want and then some.

Wesley Gibson thinks something is seriously wrong when he gets these panic attacks at the slightest pressure point. Whether it's his boss demanding reports be on time, or knowing that his co-worker is sleeping with his girl and he won't do anything about it, his heart just beats as if it were about to explode. It's not like he's doctor, a fireman, or a cop where he has to protect others and anxiety attacks are forbidden; he's an accountant, plain and simple.

His life takes a 360-turn when unknown to him, his father, who left Wesley when he was a toddler, and is a train assassin/marksman gets himself taken out atop the roof of a corporate building. As Wesley goes to a K-Mart to pick up some small necessities, he encounters a woman named Fox (Jolie) who tells him that she knew his father and that he just got killed by the same man who now wants Wesley dead. That same man, Cross (Kretschmann) happens to be in the store at the same time and before you know it, bullets are flying all over the place, with Wesley trying to get the heck out of there.

With the help of Fox, they allude death and Wesley is brought back to meet the head of the Fraternity, Sloan (Freeman), tha who tells him they are a group of trained assassins and that he has the same talent as his dead father. The motto is the same for all - 'Kill one, save a thousand'. Cross was once one of them but went rogue and now is hunting and killing them and it's up to Wesley as their only hope to stop him.

Reluctant at first, but not wanting to go back to his old miserable life, Wesley goes through a very painful training process that involves being bloody with several stab wounds, and beatdowns, and yet he wants in. Now, fully aware of his strengths and weaknesses, Wesley has a mission to fulfill: avenge his father and control his destiny.

The film never wavers from being kinetic and amusing. The whole bullets-flying-in-slow-motion is nothing original. 'The Matrix' did it first, but to see McAvoy in his first action film after appearing in several high profiled Oscar worthy films ('Atonement, ), it's nice to see him switch gears. For the hoopla on her personal life, Jolie is still an actress who craves action films, and with her supporting role her filled with less dialogue, she makes up the difference with her tattoos and toughness. She brought her 'Tomb Raider' persona to this minus the conscience. Freeman is just Freeman, always the mentor, the wise one, but in this film, he brings some tricks we haven't seen in some time. Common doesn't have much to do in this film, but when you are working with Jolie and Freeman and being directed by the guy who did 'Nightwatch' and 'Daywatch', who wouldn't want to be on the bench and play reserve to such a team.