Jul 24, 2008

By Justin Meltzer

Warning: Spoilers within. How can a movie about assassins who can curve bullets be bad? See the latest action-thriller-suspense-special-effects clap trap entitled Wanted and find out. In a bevy of ultra testosterone drenched action gun flicks in the recent years, i.e. Transporter, Shoot em’ Up and XXX: State of the Union, all of which were garbage, this movie takes the cake. Although for some of those films, say Shoot em’ Up for example, it acknowledges the fact that it is meant to be stupid yet exciting. It doesn’t expect you to believe that a man with an anger management problem kills people with carrots and is in anyway based on real life. While some could argue that the same can be said of Wanted, I feel differently.

Wanted takes you into the world of the movie and entices you to “believe” that what the characters can do is possible. This implies having the audience suspend disbelief throughout the entire movie, a feat nearly impossible for all but a brave few. To attempt to endure the ludicrous sequences of action such as the aforementioned curvature of bullets by flicking your wrist, to the ridiculous concept of hitting a bullet with another bullet in mid air (this movie really liked bullets) no part of this movie made any sense yet it “wanted” the audience to believe.

Meet Wesley (James McAvoy), a do-nothing office drone with some serious anxiety issues, who is sick and tired of his shitty life. He works day in and day out for a pig of a boss, yet has no money. His girlfriend is cheating on him with his best friend but he doesn’t care, and frankly, neither should the audience. He hates himself, so why should anyone else like him. Sadly this sentiment followed me throughout the entire film. He references his past with the notion that his father left him when he was only a week old. Then you’d think he’d hate his father, but apparently not enough, because he’s quick enough to forget about all that and learn how to use his special powers to fight for his father’s honor. Believable? I think not.

After an exhilarating yet unbelievable fight/chase sequence, he learns that a bad man killed his father some days ago, and this group called “The Fraternity,” enlists him in order to utilize his special skills. Apparently, however, this frat house of assassins has girls in it too, including Fox (Angelina Jolie), who is the first person he meets from this group. At first he is reluctant to join being the timid character he is. But all of a sudden the Fraternity gives him his dead father’s money (about $3.6 million) and he is a changed man. Changed enough to tell off his boss, ensuring his prompt firing and then smacking his friend in the face with a keyboard. This is one of the (numerous) reasons the movie was so bad; there was no smooth character development. Wesley went from being the most timid guy to being a badass in .5 seconds. There was no progress for his character development.

There are many other unbelievable parts in this movie that I found myself laughing hysterically at. One such moment was the kiss between Fox and Wesley that Fox uses to make Wesley’s ex-girlfriend jealous. This kiss came from nowhere as the characters never exuded any chemistry before this part. Then there was the literal train wreck of a sequence that is taken straight out of a Wile E. Coyote cartoon. I mean what train crashes over a bridge that is over a gorge deeper than the Grand Canyon? They were literally falling for about a minute for crying out loud. And the final insult was the curved bullets; again. At first they tell Wesley to shoot the target with a large dead pig in front of it. Of course since if he shoots directly at the swine, the bullets will get stuck in it so he has to shoot around it, by curving the bullet. Although, at the end of the film, an ultimatum is made and Fox decides to kill all the assassins standing in a circle with her, by curving her bullet in a circular path hitting each guy in the circle in the head, until it finally completes it’s path to kill herself. So, apparently, bullets that hit pork stop, but bullets that hit twelve skulls keep going, and aren’t even thrown off course. As the great John Stossel would say, gimme a break!

The rest of the movie was just as pathetic. Wesley went through a montage a la Team America sans the song. The many plot holes and sequences of action/fighting could have only come from the dreams of an eight-year-old. The dialogue was lazy at best with F bombs being thrown around with as little care as the bullets. Not to mention the utterly lame transitions that attempted to explain how or why Wesley kept waking up from a bad dream when he clearly walked out of the last scene. And let’s not forget how Wesley went from being a scared office monkey to the best assassin ever in just six weeks. (That is exactly what they said at the end of the movie, six weeks!) This movie was the worst piece of crap I have seen in theaters since last years Transformers. I have to say that this form of special effects blockbuster that Hollywood is unleashing is just sad. The worst part however is the fact that this type of movie does so well and America actually forked over $55 million in the opening weekend to see this trash.