Wanted (2008)

Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Plot: "Wanted" tells the tale of one apathetic nobody's transformation into an unparalleled enforcer of justice.

Genre: Action/Thriller
Awards: Nom. for 2 Oscars - Sound Mixing, and Sound Editing
Runtime: 110min
Rating: NC16 for strong bloody violence throughout, pervasive language and some sexuality.



Visual stylist Timur Bekmambetov first foray into mainstream action is very much commendable, despite my above average score of 6.5. He is most recognized for his horror-fantasy works such as Daywatch and Nightwatch, both of them showcase his skill in creating visually arresting images. Wanted is a different kind of summer action flick; yes it relies on copious amounts of CGI and is a comic book adaptation (though not quite a faithful one), but the manner in which Bekmambetov presents his film is a breath of fresh air, a rarely seen before approach that blends stylized violence with imaginative editing.

Wanted has some of the most outrageous action sequences in recent years. We see crazy car acrobatics as well as impossible trajectories of bullets shot from guns. Most of these sequences end in unnerving violence and gratuitous gore, surely too much to warrant only an NC16 rating. While most of the action scenes are unrealistic and stylized, less sophisticated viewers might find them distasteful. The filmmakers of Wanted are probably influenced by Wachowski Brothers' The Matrix (bullet-time technique) and Zack Snyder's 300 (CG action gore).

The technical aspects of Wanted are superb, especially the editing of the film which boasts an arsenal of techniques that includes 'fast-forwarding' and 'reverse playback'. Though narrative-wise it leaves much to be desired, the story has its occasional twists and revelations, and is at times a baffling experience to sit through. The pick of the cast is the new hotshot James McAvoy (Atonement, The Last King Of Scotland), playing a paranoid man with a desk job whom by destiny is selected to join the Fraternity, a group of highly-trained assassins that brutally hunts down its victims in the name of peace.

The first hour of Wanted is breathtaking and a sight to behold. It is also the reason the final hour of the picture becomes so stylistically over-saturated that most viewers will probably lose some interest along the way. Wanted is ear-splittingly loud and packs enough grittiness and blood to enthrall fans of gore. It's quite a solid entertainment at this time of the year, though it is not the kind one will wish to revisit on home video, unless Angelina Jolie's tanned and tattooed butt is too tantalizing for some.

GRADE: C+ (6.5/10 or 3 stars)

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