Monday, August 25, 2008


I went into Wanted with low expectations. It seemed reasonable that Wanted might be about as crapulent as the mediocre-but-watchable Jumper.

I set the bar too high. Way, way too high. Wanted is garbage from beginning to end.

The development of the movie goes as follows: noted comics writer Mark Millar (The Ultimates; Superman: Red Son) created a comic called Wanted. Later, a wandering tribe of barely pubescent orangutans made a completely unrelated film with the same name. Angelina Jolie stars.

To Hollywood executives that must have sounded like a one-hundred-proof bottle of win, but as so often happens they were so massively wrong that they tore a hole in space/time that even now remains in the ruins of their LA apartment gradually consuming our universe from the inside.

The plot follows white-collar worker Wesley Gibson. Wesley is what you'd get if Edward Norton's character from Fight Club were played by Hayden Christensen. No sooner has Wesley delivered a painfully whiny narration about his annoyingly pathetic life than he's inducted into a mysterious fraternity of super-assassins.

These assassins, descended from (I kid you not) homicidal medaeval weavers, are busily involved in killing off random citizens on the instructions of their magical loom. Wesley is put to work in the service of the all-powerful-loom, while simultaneously training to take down a powerful former assassin who's now gone rogue.

That may seem like an abridged version of the plot but if you make the mistake of seeing Wanted you'll realise that, no, that's the full monty. Super-assassins. They can curve bullets, which would be awesome were it not used so absolutely ludicrously. Also, their hyper-adrenaline lets them slow down time, which you would think would be a good excuse for gratuitous bullet-time effects but in actuality leads to a lot of tedious regular-style slow motion. With the possible exception of Angelina Jolie, no one in this film looks good in slow motion. There's not a lot of awesome slow mo fighting but there is a lot of non-awesome slow mo fat-bounce and jowl-wiggle. It's really quite disturbing.

The writers of Wanted clearly thought that they were both funny and awesome. The director thought it too, and helfpully inserted lots of pauses for the audience to laugh and gasp in. The writers, though, are not funny, and they are very definitely not awesome. Morgan Freeman is in this movie, and his wittiest line is "Oh, fuck me." When Morgan Freeman is in your movie and you still can't pull off witty or urbane then there is something deeply, deeply wrong.

I think some people will get enjoyment from Wanted but those people will be able to get equal enjoyment from throwing rocks at other rocks, which is cheaper. For the rest of us, this is an absolute no-go. I give it a solid rating of "not even if you liked Jumper."


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed Wanted considerably more than I enjoy throwing rocks at other rocks, but that's not what this comment is about.

Just thought you might like to know that your movie review itself was a source of considerable amusement, particularly as sometime around the third or fourth paragraph, I started hearing the entire thing as if narrated by Yahtzee Crowshaw, with rapidfire slides for all your oh so appropriate links.

Greg Tannahill said...


As always in my reviews, I may have exaggerated just a little.