ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Wanted(2008)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Timur Bekmambetov

Starring:
Angelina Jolie/Fox
James McAvoy/Wesley
Morgan Freeman/Sloan
Terence Stamp/Pekwarsky
8 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
Candidate for the grand “weakling award” Wesley Gibson (McAvoy) is forced to “man up” and earn a pair when he’s recruited into The Fraternity. And what does that mean exactly? Means he just joined a mysterious group of assassins that keep our society “balanced” via trick shots and groovy car moves. Hey! Great club! Where do I sign up?
THE LOWDOWN

Our purpose is to maintain stability in an unstable world - kill one, save a thousand. - Sloan

I’ve been craving some of that WANTED loving since I heard that Timur Bekmambetov was the lad behind the lens on it. Night Watch and Day Watch blew my noggin wide open visually and I expected nothing less from Timur’s American feature film debut. Now before I unload by 12 gauge, I have to put this out there: If you’re the kind of person that NEEDS “realism” even in “non realistic” types of pictures - then don’t bother with this baby. You’ll be groaning like an hemorrhoid on two legs the whole way through and annoying the people around you THAT WANT to see this kind stuff…i.e. peeps like ME!

WANTED (which is loosely based on Mark Millar’s comic series of the same name) was an adrenaline fueled, visually arresting, wam-bam-bang your momma in the corn hole, cluster f*ck of fun f*cking times at the movies. Unlike many foreign directors that lose their stones when segueing to the good old US of A, Timur Bekmambetov went the other way, pushing the envelope and smothering our faces in excess as much as he could within his new playground. And I SOOOOO respected that! Yup, WANTED had a cynical sense of humor that charmed the pants out of me, a clever narration that worked for the most part and a politically incorrect attitude that I just couldn’t get enough of. Ahhh… a film that is not afraid to offend in this pussy-fied, overly sensitive society – what a breath of fresh dead air!

Yup, the R Rating was embraced whole heartily here as bullets emerged out of craniums in slow motion, gushes of blood splattered left and right and fists crushed jaws fiercely. In fact, one of my fav bits had to do with our hero shooting a crowd of baddies while having his gun lodged through some corpse’s eye socket. Yup he was dragging that dead body around as he mowed the room down. You just can’t go wrong with that kind of macabre poetry in motion! Which brings me to the many shootouts and inventive/eye popping vehicular shenanigans that caused a ruckus in this war party. Plausible? Of course not! But this is a movie, not reality and I personally got off on the stunt heavy (loved the flip of the car over another car’s hood), gleefully brutal, novel, audio/visual extreme and at time tongue in cheek get downs that unraveled here.

What about the story you may ask? Was there one? Yes there was - nothing groundbreaking - but substantial and compelling enough to keep me stimulated. The flick echoed classics like Fight Club, The Matrix, Empire Strikes Back and even “name your own flick” super-hero origin story. Moreover, the tight characters contributed in keeping me engaged. Not that they were of Hamlet like depth; but they were well written enough for me to give a hoot and more importantly, superbly cast (Jolie, Freeman, McAvoy – all aced it!). Hence although derivative and familiar, WANTED held up as whole, sported its own identity and even managed to surprise me now and again with a couple unexpected plot twists.

Any negatives to gun out? Well some of the green screen work was obvious, hence taking me out of the action a tad. And was it me or were some of the action scenes TOO tightly edited in places? Finally the affair did go on for a tad too long for my liking. A good ten minutes could’ve been shaved off this wild boar’s back. As the end credits rolled though, I had a huge grin on my face. Why? Cause I had just sat through 2 hours of rousing, no holds barred, grisly and extreme entertainment. Balls on their sleeves cinematic uppercuts like this one are the reason I still go to the movies! Thank you WANTED!

GORE
We get all kind of red wet bullet wounds (chest, forehead), some nasty knife cuts, a gun through the eye socket (I hate it when that happens), severely violent beatings, a blade kicked in one's chest and more!
ACTING
Angelina Jolie (Fox) oozed of dangerous sexuality and menace. She obviously had fun with the role and I had fun watching her in more ways than one. James McAvoy (Wesley) nailed the geek to badass journey his character was on. And even though his Scottish accent would sometimes seep out, he was so earnest in the role that it didn’t matter. Morgan Freeman (Sloan) played the usual “Morgan Freeman” role. Dude could do this in his grave by now. Terence Stamp (Pekwarsky) showed up, said his lines, cashed a check and got more hookers over the weekend. GREAT MAN!
T & A
We get a fully naked shot of Jolie from the back (still has a great ass) and the ladies get some dude’s butt and a buff McAvoy shirtless.
DIRECTING
Timur Bekmambetov went buck-wild, offering up an attack on the senses that I cherished every step of the way, Slow motion, speed ups, powerful zooms, kinetic angles, near still frames… you name it in terms of eye/ear candy device – IT WAS IN HERE and put out with oomph at that!
SOUNDTRACK
The gripping and mood varied score was so un-Danny Elfman like that I never would’ve guessed that Danny Elfman was behind it. Freaking loved it though!
BOTTOM LINE
What can I say! I loved WANTED! My kind of movie! It reminded of DOOMSDAY’s, slicker and more polite cousin. Both films flew out in a relentless fashion with a strong axis on audio/visual excess and pure enjoyment! ENJOYMENT DAMMIT! Do people remember that shite! Sure the story was clichéd and some of the visual effects weren’t 100% but that didn’t bother me much. The fine actors at play, the flick’s violent and loving it nature, the F.U. attitude and the sharp sense of humor in the house more than made up for that. Some will call WANTED dumb, others will call it fun – I fall in the latter category. Bring on the sequel - I’m in! – but only with Timur behind the camera.
BULL'S EYE
Konstantin Khabensky of Night Watch and Daywatch has a supporting role here as The Exterminator.

Rapper Common also has a small part.

The film cost about $65,000,000 to make.

VISIT THE WANTED WEBSITE HERE

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