Here’s another really bad movie that’s a lot of fun.
Wanted wants to be Fight Club and it wants to be The Matrix, but it doesn’t have the balls or the skill of either.
And yet …
Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) works in an office that he hates for a boss that he hates and lives with a girlfriend that he hates because she’s sleeping with his best friend, whom he hates.
But he’s too paralyzed by panic attacks to do anything about it, so he buries it all under excuses and pills.
Until he almost gets chopped to pieces by bullets in a gun-fu supermarket shoot-’em-up between The Fox (Angelina Jolie, looking filthy hot in a white dress that barely hides the lines of all the dirty tattoos scribbled like some kind of ancient, horny cursive all along her sex-on-legs frame) and Cross (Thomas Kretschmann), a super-assassin whom Wesley will later be told was the murderer of his own father who walked out when he was seven months old and just happened to be the most awesome assassin who ever lived.
The mastermind of all this insanity is Sloan, played by the ever-awesome Morgan Freeman.
Sloan is the keeper of some kind of cosmic loom that weaves threads which can be read as binary code that reveals the names of people who need to be killed because fate says so.
And that’s what Sloan’s people do.
When a name comes up, that person is killed.
But these aren’t just normal killers. They can “bend” bullets to do all kinds of aerial acrobatics, and they can literally shoot the wings off of flies.
Wesley has this ability, and in the grand Jedi way he is trained to find it, harness it, and use it against the loom’s targets with extreme prejudice.
And of course he’s also ultimately being groomed to take on Cross, because he’s the only shooter with the potential to best the traitor.
But there’s no Yoda-style philosophy to be found here. Instead, Gibson’s training involves being beaten nearly to death on a daily basis by a smirking blond Euro-trash taskmaster called The Repairman before then being sliced up by a nasty, greasy butcher known only as — you guessed it — The Butcher.
After all of this punishment, he gets dumped into a waxy bath that rapidly heals his wounds so that he’ll be fresh and fancy for the next day’s beatings and cuttings.
In between all of this, he gets gun lessons from the cool, classy Gunsmith, played by rapper Common.
McAvoy is really brilliant in this, and sells even the most ridiculous aspects of this trashy, ridiculous piece of cinematic garbage. I kept thinking, in fact, that he’d make a great Luke Skywalker if they ever made another Star Wars movie.
But as trashy and as bad as this movie is, it’s still a massive amount of fun thanks to the fact that it never really takes itself too seriously and remains pretty whiz-bang with the action stuff.
Freeman is Freeman.
Jolie is sexy and enigmatic.
And, again, McAvoy is awesome.
I think one of the film’s weak points is how careless it is with its twists; there’s not a single turn that I didn’t see coming almost immediately because of how heavy-handedly so many of the proceedings here are presented.
Wanted is a stylish piece of mean-spirited garbage, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have one hell of a good time watching it.
And there you go.