||[Jun. 27th, 2008|02:00 pm]
A fresh look at shoot'em'ups dazzled me last night.
Wanted is a loose adaptation of Mark Millar's comic series of the same name. Instead of a league of super-villains, the screenplay deals with a league of super-assassins.
James McAvoy plays Wesley Gibson, an office jockey who is about to meet fate, as designed by Sloan (Morgan Freeman). Sloan runs an organization of super-assassins called The Fraternity, an organization helping keep balance of power throughout the world through assassinations. Fox (Angelina Jolie) helps Wesley reach his true potential. The members of The Fraternity possess genetics which allow them to up their heart rates and slow down the world, resulting in super-human reflexes. Wesley also shares this trait, and they help him learn how to control what he once thought were mere panic attacks. Sloan sends Wesley on a mission to kill a rogue assassin named Cross (Thomas Kretschmann), who has been targeting and eliminating members of The Fraternity.
Wanted breaks down well into a simple but distinct set of acts. The story goes somewhere and gets to the finish. A decent twist exists, and it puts the later efforts of M. Night Shyamalan to shame.
Angelina Jolie, mind you, is only the supporting character, but she gets plenty of face time alongside McAvoy. This is the case of Jolie's star being much brighter at this time than the others; naturally, she's the lead focus on most of the promotions. Despite that misconception, McAvoy makes a case for his star to shine as brightly as Jolie's in the future. Wanted is a hell of a performance by McAvoy, Jolie, and Morgan Freeman.
The film takes liberties with reality, and the writers make sure that you know to suspend your disbelief within the opening minutes of the film. These people aren't just your garden-variety professional killers. They can do things, like curve bullets. They aren't super-human in the sense that they're impervious to bullets or knives, but they're very hard to catch and kill. Their average targets stand almost no chance of survival.
And it all looks great. Director Timur Bekmambetov is a relative 1st-time entry into the American market with Wanted. The film has a sweet look to it. The graphics flow with the ease, speed, and fury of a waterfall. The CGI is mostly as-needed, and the CGI weaves well with the regular action. Bekmambetov made the most out of a tight screenplay. Wanted is a worthy summer action film.