Sunday, July 6, 2008

"Wanted" - REVIEW

Now that I finally have access to a computer again (though still not my own, so pictures may not show up...) I can get back to what I was going to do about a week ago: review my back to back viewings of Wanted and Wall-E. Let's save the better for last. Wanted seems like the perfect summer vehicle: fast cars, cool guns, explosions, and Angelina Jolie getting out of a sauna naked. The opening is promising; we are introduced to regular guy Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) who hates his life. His job sucks, he never has fun, and his girlfriend is cheating on him with his best friend. Such an opening recalls that of "Fight Club"'s and seems promising.
However, once Wesley learns that his father was one of the world's greatest assassins, and gets whisked away to join a group of assassins (called the Fraternity) to kill his father's killer things instantly fall apart. The biggest issue the movie has is tone. One minute it's smart alecky and almost self-parodying, the next it's taking itself way too seriously (how anyone can narrate about receiving divine instruction from a loom with a straight face is beyond me). But there are other problems, among them numerous inconsistencies and plot holes. Anyone looking to see Jolie kick butt is also going to be underwhelmed; aside from the opening car chase (staged so poorly that the cars look like they're barely pushing 35 mph) she really doesn't do anything. She's a supporting character, but had only a handful of scenes been cut, her role would have been more like a glorified cameo. Perhaps the biggest let down though is what should have been the film's greatest strength: the action scenes. Even with curving (and ornately designed) bullets and exploding rats (yyyyyyyyyup) the action is hardly satisfying mostly due to the ridiculous usage of slow motion. If this was meant to be an underhanded parody of action films like the Matrix, then it's all been lost in translation. Performances however, are relativaely solid and McAvoy makes a good dweeb-turned-action badass. In the end though, none of the talented cast can elevate the film above disappointing mediocrity.

Grade: C-

Nominations: Best Sound Editing(#5), Best Sound Mixing(#5)

Number of 2008 films seen: 15

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