Wanted

Paul Yim Paul Yim: (paulyim-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2008-07-02 00:32:04

Wanted - Rank A


Wanted is an adaptation of the comic book mini-series of the same name written by Mark Millar and art by J. G. Jones. If you've read the comic then there's no reason to believe that you're reading this review, because you've already seen the movie. For those of you who are more "geek-challenged", know this: the movie is a loose interpretation of the comic – and that's a good thing.

The film is directed by Timur Bekmambetov and he really outdoes himself. If you've seen any of his Night Watch movies you'll know what I'm talking about. For all their special-effects laden visuals they amounted to nothing more than bad video games put to film. With Wanted he captures the action as well as the drama. After all, "action movie" isn't really a genre – it's melodrama. Drama is the fuel for the sleek sports car of a movie that is an action movie, and Wanted is this year's Porsche 911.

The hook of the film differs greatly with that of the comic book. In the book, the premise is that the world we've been living in, since 1986, is not the same world as we knew it, due to a climactic battle between superheroes and supervillains. That year, the heroes lost. They lost so badly that a reality altering supervillain had to reshape the world to resemble its former self, only wiping the memory of superheroes from the world's collective consciousness forever. So the world that you and I know in 2008 (or 2003, when the comic was first published) is a darker place where even the food doesn't taste quite as good as it used to and hope is a dim fantasy. Sounds cool – and it is – but it only really works as a comic book (or a Sci-fi Channel movie of the week). Showing this sort of thing with live actors and such would be a difficult sell if not outright hilarious (just imagine hundreds of thousands of supertights flying around the earth battling for supremacy - ridiculous). The film takes a decidedly grittier tone and introduces us to a secret society of assassins who have shaped world events to maintain order in the world. Now that works as a film. Even if you're not deep into conspiracy theories (as I am) you'll appreciate the ease with which you allow your disbelief to take a vacation for a couple of hours.

Now for the important stuff: T&A. No, you don't get to see Angelina Jolie's tits. You do get a beautiful ass shot, however, as she's coming out of a healing pool. Dudes who're into tats? You're going to freak. And not to be outdone, you ladies will appreciate young James McAvoy's pecs as he comes out of a bath (don't worry dudes, you won't be subjected to any "bits" in the shot – thank The Maker). Finally, the movie sports the greatest use of the word "motherfucker" by acclaimed actor Morgan Freeman.

The second link is the 2-disc Collector's version of the film, and the third is the Blu-ray edition.

David Yun David Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2008-07-02 07:24:23

Addendum


I felt compelled to interject and elaborate on why Wanted works.

First, it's cathartic. They retained the one essential aspect of the comic book series: you get to watch Wesley Gibson, a complete and utter loser, transform into the ultimate badass. He then says and does what we yearn to say and do. That awesomely lethal motherfucker taking names and hanging out with Angelina Jolie could just as easily be you.

Next, Wanted's action is utterly uncompromising. It strives for the absurd, but presents it in an unassuming fashion. The action sequences are ridiculously over the top, without the sham syllogization of the Matrix sequels. Wanted works because it doesn't try to explain the nonsense, it just asks you to enjoy it. Bending the trajectory of bullets, or parrying bullets with other bullets? Don't worry about it! That's just how skilled these motherfuckers are! It's like how The Force was awesome before the prequels introduced the M word.

Remember seeing Die Hard, Aliens, or a Chow Yun-Fat/John Woo film for the first time? I'm not necessarily saying that Wanted is as good as any of those, but there were several moments that made the entire theater gasp with a collective, "Oh my what the fuck ass balls!" And not in an "Oh please, you've got to be kidding me" sort of way, but in an "I have never before seen anything like that and the sudden stimulus is giving me a raging action movie boner to match the actual boner Angelina Jolie is giving me" sort of way.

And somehow, beneath all of the thickly slathered layers of masturbatory juvenile escapist fantasy lies a foundation of just enough genuine human drama. I concur with Mr. Yim's assessment of an A Rank.

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