Wanted is the kind of film where you disengage the brain and allow your eyes and ears to revel in the unrestrained joy of gorging themselves on an audiovisual feast that does nothing for the waistline but delivers an unrivalled experience that you will remember fondly for some time to come. It is Russian Director, Timur Bekmambetov’s first foray into Hollywood, after proving that Russia could make special effects driven, blockbuster movies as good, if not better than, Hollywood. Nochnoy dozor (Night Watch) was the first in a trilogy (the third of which is yet to be released) that blew the minds of pretty much everyone who saw it. Timur had a style that made The Matrix look old and proved that you can make an action packed movie work with subtitles – a role normally left to arty, story and character driven European movies.
Given (presumably) a bigger budget, some top Hollywood talent (James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman, Angelina Jolie) and a Graphic Novel series penned by Mark Miller as his source material, Timur’s foray into Hollywood was always going to be spectacular.
The story revolves around the dull, apologetic, cube dwelling doormat called Wesley Gibson. He epitomises the term ‘a nobody,’ his best friend is sleeping with his girlfriend and he is bullied everyday by his boss. Pretty much life sucks for Gibson. That is until he meets Fox, a sexy but lethal assassin who saves his life and tells him about who his father really was – a world class assassin – and how he, Wesley Gibson will have inherited his fathers skills – skills such as the ability to slow down time, bend bullets and outsmart pretty much everyone else.
Wesley is introduced to The Fraternity, who train him, help him realise his potential, accept him as a member then assign him to kill the man who killed his father.
The action sequences and special effects are amazing – as you’d expect if you’ve seen Night Watch – and the sound spectacular. Edited together perfectly, complimenting each other in an effort to assault your senses and leave you stunned. Watching it on the big screen at Hoyts Silvia Park was amazing – it’s the kind of movie the cinema was built for, and for just shy of two hours I was mesmerised by Bekmambetov’s interpretation of Miller’s story.
It’s probably too close to call, but I’d say that Wanted is right up there with The Dark Knight as to who owns the crown of best action movie of the year – I’d almost be tempted to say that Wanted is the better of the two, but both movies are so different that it isn’t really fair to compare them. The Dark Knight’s trump card was Heath and his fantastic portrayal of the Joker, where as Wanted showcases James McAvoy’s evolving abilities, but is carried by the special effects and outlandish storyline.
All in all, if you like your action movies packed with violence, special effects, slow-motion graphic blood splatters and Angelina Jolie, Wanted will not disappoint.
The only disappointing thing is that according to IMDB, aside from 2009’s Russian sure fire hit Twilight Watch, Timur has no other movies scheduled, which means that it will be a while before we’re given another treat that will be on par with Wanted.
Warning: Contains gratuitous violence and language that will offend some people.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read.
Rating: R16 – Contains violence and offensive language.
Duration: 110 mins.
Director: Timur Bekmambetov.
Actors: James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman, Terence Stamp, Thomas Kretschmann.
Release Date: August 14th, 2008.