Thank God for Wanted. Up until I saw this eye-popping, largely-brainless action extravaganza last Thursday, I was beginning to lose faith in 2008's summer fare. First, The Happening brought the distinction of "piece of shitâ€ to all new, never-before-imagined levels. Then, I saw Get Smart, which was good but not great, a generic comedy totally dependent on your appreciation of Steve Carell's doofus mode (which I love, though it's way funnier on The Office). Wisely, I skipped The Love Guru, a flick that'll hopefully send the way-behind-the-times Mike Myers into hiding until he does another Wayne's World movie (A boy can hope, can't he?). And then, I saw the totally schizophrenic and bewildering Hancock, a movie so unsure of itself that my brain hurt for days after seeing it (more on Will's latest to come).
I thought, "Man, if Wanted sucks, I'm avoiding all AMCs and Loews until I can see Pineapple Express again in August.â€ (Pineapple rules, btw). At the most, I was hoping for a reckless, logic-free tour-de-force of guns, blood, rock music bursts, and inventive anarchy. At the least, I was anticipating a naked ass-shot of the delectable Angelina Jolie (A boy can hope, can't he?). Well, what do you know? I got both!
From the first completely over-the-top five minutes on, Wanted is pure Snickers for the eyes. The definition of "turn your brain off for two hours and enjoy the ride.â€ There's very little on screen that could actually happen in real life, but shit, how good does it feel to watch the unbelievable happen in a darkly-lit theater? Sure beats the hell out of reality.
The action in this one does just that, too. There's the 10-minute visual feast where Jolie uses some insane bendy-gun in a supermarket, then flees in a red Porsche (I'm car-retarded; it could've been a Camaro for all I know) And I can't forget the climactic set piece on a speeding train that derails, resulting in a gravity-defying gunfight between our hero, office drone-turned-badass Wesley Gibson (unlikely, yet super qualified, action guy James McAvoy), and the believed murderer of his father. But my fave scene comes when McAvoy busts through a window and runs through a warehouse's main room, basically shooting everyman in sight in one clean sweep, picking up the dropped guns of his targets as they fall to the ground. Dopeness.
The plot is a mix of three personal favorite movies: Office Space, Fight Club, and The Matrix (although, those Matrix sequels sucked). Basically, Gibson is a loser suffering through a boring office job and living with a girlfriend who routinely cheats on him with his obnoxious best friend. Turns out, however, that Gibson is the son of a fallen assassin who was part of a secret killing outfit known as The Fraternity (led by the great Morgan Freeman). After Jolie's character finds and recruits him, Gibson embarks on a comic book-like journey into cold-blooded killing hero-dom. And yes, the bodies begin to stack up.
As long as you go into this expecting nothing more than fun mindless entertainment, you should love Wanted. It won't win any Oscars, and it'll probably wash over you hours after leaving the theater. But if you're down to drop $12 on a flick ticket, you can't do much better than this. Two hours of escapism, greatly executed by Russian import director Timur Bekmambetov (keep an eye on this dude, Wanted should make him a worthy adversary for Michael Bay's overblown cinema reign). And, come onâ€”any time you can hear the distinguished Morgan Freeman unflinchingly command, "Shoot this motherfucker!â€ has to be worth seeing.
Oh yeah, about Jolie's ass-shot. If we could run movie stills on KING's "Backshotâ€ page, it'd be a no-brainer. Brad Pitt, you bastard!