After her touching dramatic turn in A Might Heart, Angelina Jolie has remained in the public eye through adoption, pregnancy, and the CGI nudity of Beowulf.
Slo-Mo! Car tricks! Fisticuffs! Letdown
After her touching dramatic turn in A Might Heart, Angelina Jolie has remained in the public eye through adoption, pregnancy, and the CGI nudity of Beowulf. She can currently be heard as a voice in the new family film Kung Fu Panda. All this adds up to one inescapable fact:it is high time she opened up a can of whoopass on some bad guys.
Her new film is Wanted, and she does indeed open up that can. The movie?Not badass, just bad.
Angelina plays "Fox" (I guess "MILF" was too over the top?), a trained weapon who is part of The Fraternity, an elite band of assassins that throws righteous keggers and kills people. When one of their own is taken out by a rogue agent, they respond by recruiting the slain agent's son to join the group and take his revenge.
James McAvoy (Atonement) plays Wesley, a nerd living in Office Space Hell (right down to the red stapler).Turns out he never knew his dad, and sure as shootin' didn't know he inherited the family talent for a 400-beats-per-minute heart rate.If he can learn to control this power, he can slow down time and do cool things like curve bullets and shoot the wings off flies.
Angelina and the gang give Wesley several beatdowns, and convince him to join them and accept his destiny. Let the killing begin! Director Timur Bekmambetov, best known for the Russian vampire blockbusters Night Watch and Day Watch, moves into English language filmmaking for the first time with Wanted. He throws everything on the screen, coming off as a film student trying to copy movies he thinks are cool. Wanted wants to be The Matrix, Fast and the Furious, the Bourne trilogy and maybe even a little Kill Bill.There's slo-mo, super slo-mo, impossible car tricks, intense fisticuffs, Jolie's naked rear and high octane gunplay. In the end, though, Wanted is a clichéd letdown.
Before Wesley earns his first kill, he asks Fox why she does what she does.She looks introspective and begins, "there once was a little girl. . . ." Ugh. She tells of a judge, murdered in front of his family by an assassin who then scarred the survivors with brands so they "would never forget." Just in case some of the audience was in a coma, the camera then zooms in on Fox's scar. Subtle.
Did I mention the origins of the Fraternity go back a thousand years, and it was founded by the weavers?What's more, the group receives orders on who to kill thanks to the . . . wait for it. . . .wait for it. . . Loom of Destiny. Yes, the Loom of Destiny.
Don't even think of botching the job, either, or face the Etch-a-Sketch of Vengeance. Based on the graphic novel by Mark Millar, Wanted does have some OK action sequences and a big double-cross, but there are large segments of inaction. The story is weak and the main character is badly miscast.
McAvoy has no problem pulling off the nerdy elements of Wesley, but when his inner Rambo is revealed, you just don't buy it. Jolie is fine, all pouty, tatted-up and smoldering, but she seems to be going through the motions. Morgan Freeman shows up as Sloan, leader of the Fraternity, and he gets to drop an F-bomb (and even an M-F-bomb). The audience seemed genuinely shocked at his language but hey, they were awake.
Fans of the book may find something to like in Wanted, but those looking for the next great action epic will be left wanting.GeorgeWolf Rating: **