Review: Wanted (2008)

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“Six weeks ago I was ordinary and pathetic. Just like you. Who am I now?”
– Wesley

Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) is a depressed guy who is on some serious medication for the panic attacks he is always suffering and working in a dead end job. His girlfriend Cathy (Kristen Hager) is sleeping with his best friend Barry (Chris Pratt), and both of them think he does not know this. He stays in a crappy apartment and his life is just an incessant loop of the same stuff, over and over again. One day, though, Wesley’s life takes a massive change. While collecting his anxiety medication, he meets a beautiful woman named Fox (Angeline Jolie), who tells him that his father was killed on a rooftop by the assassin Cross (Thomas Kretschmann), and that he has pitched to finish the job with Wesley. Naturally, he rejects this story seeing as he never knew his father, but is involved in a heavy shootout. Escaping Cross, Fox takes Wesley to her boss, Sloan (Morgan Freeman), who explains to him that they are a secret society of assassins known as the Fraternity. Wesley is told to shoot the wings off a fly, and he scoffs at the idea. He is told his panic attacks are not anxiety, but instead it is his heart rate speeding up and adrenaline kicking in, giving him superhuman abilities when it kicks in.

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“Your father was one of the greatest assassins who ever lived.” – Fox

Wesley leaves the Fraternity, convinced they have lost the plot, but the next morning his bank account reflects that it is not a dream, as well as the gun he finds in his apartment that belonged to his father. At work, he disses his boss to her face and ends his “friendship” with Barry, walking out and meeting Fox, who seems to have known that today he would feel differently about the Fraternity’s proposition. They return to the textile mill that serves as headquarters, and Wesley makes it clear that he would like to begin training to officially follow in his deceased father’s footsteps and  join the Fraternity. Sloan shows Wesley the Loom of Fate, the place where the Fraternity gets its kill orders. Wesley is unhappy that their “orders” come from some unknown place from some crazy loom. He fails his first mission, unable to kill his target, and Fox explains to him why they do what they do.

wanted loom of fate
“Our purpose is to maintain stability in an unstable world – kill one, save a thousand. Within the fabric of this world, every life hangs by a thread. We are that thread – a fraternity of assassins with the weapons of fate.” – Sloan

Soon Wesley is a functioning part of the Fraternity, always waiting for his kill order on Cross, which never seems to come, which is frustrating him more and more. After recovering his father’s gun from his apartment that his ex-girlfriend is staying in with Barry now, it seems that Fox and Wesley are a little more romantically connected than was previously shown too much. Leaving the apartment, Wesley comes across Cross, whom he chases down. The hunt is brutal, and carnage is left in their wake. Losing members of the Fraternity is difficult, and Wesley feels responsible. When he comes across Cross, things change when he shares something with Wesley that completely changes the way he perceives everything.

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“Insanity is wasting your life as a nothing when you have the blood of a killer flowing in your veins.” – Sloan

What is the truth? Is Cross lying, or is Sloan lying? Cross seems to have more corroborating evidence, but it goes against everything Wesley has learned. How is Fox involved? Does she know the truth? What is Sloan playing at, or is Cross just that successful at manipulating other people? Will Wesley kill Cross? Will Wesley return to the Fraternity with his newfound knowledge? Will Wesley continue on with his new life?

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“What did he do to deserve to die? You don’t know. I didn’t know if he was bad. I didn’t know if he was evil. I didn’t know anything about him. We get orders from a loom; fate.” – Wesley

GRADE 7Definitely not the flick to watch if you are looking for something serious and dramatic, but totally up your alley if you want something fun and action packed, relatively well put together and entertaining. Wanted was something I saw years ago and have been meaning to revisit, if not for McAvoy alone then surely for the curving bullets, and finally got around to it after throwing my hands up in exasperation in the midst of studying when I got the the place of what I didn’t know then I was never going to know. This movie proved to be exactly what I needed. It possessed humour, though not overkill, it didn’t take itself awfully seriously (which could potentially have killed the whole vibe this worked for), and it isn’t long. The effects are pretty damn good, and the transformation we witness in Wesley after he discovers more about his past is awesome. He actually grows a spine, and that rocks! Angelina Jolie was very good in her role as Fox, I liked her a lot. McAvoy was pretty good, nothing to really fault there, though I must say I prefer his more in depth and intense roles (think Filth), but he delivered here nonetheless. Ever entertaining, Mr McAvoy – he can play just about anything across the board. The training that Wesley underwent was the only time that things teetered on the edge of getting boring though, there were a few scenes that just repeated themselves, but that was luckily saved due to everything moving along very quickly, and the movie being short. The plot twist also worked for what was coming, changing the dynamic of the movie. It is fast paced and filled with plenty of pretty damn cool things going on onscreen from the get go. Just the film to watch when you just want something entertaining, not too heavy, not too serious, not too stupid, and that looks good (cast and camera) and has some really good, thrilling action moments.

Review: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)

“History prefers legends to men.”

This was something that I had wanted to go and see in theatre but never got around to, and I am thinking it might have been for the best. Last night, after studying, I figured it would be nice to chill out and watch something. I am always on this mission after I see an awesome movie (my last being The Amazing Spider-Man), like the quest to see another great one is highly tangible. Very seldom, however, do you find that next elusive one.

So it began. It did not look like a particularly low or a high budget movie, but it was watchable. I found the acting to be particularly stiff. Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who played Mary Todd Lincoln, for instance, should have stuck to multicoloured hair and a blasé attitude. The role was very unbecoming for her, and her acting abilities certainly did not escalate in my eyes. It frustrated me that there was no real character growth, and the story was a little bit scattered, and the plot was just ridiculous. Nothing one could not follow, just not something you would like to. The amount of CGI in the movie was also insane.

The thing that got under my skin the most? The way all vampire lore and mythology was completely desecrated, but at least not yet to the point of glitz, glam and sparklies. I guess if you are not particularly clued up on it, it will be fine to watch. But it all got to me. Daywalkers, sunglasses and sunscreen, the inability to kill one another… oh my, the worst is how they are turned! No blood exchanged, nothing as intricate as that!

I felt that this could seriously have been executed better. I have yet to read Seth Grahame-Smith’s book (I decided to only read it after the movie, I wanted to see this as a first time viewer). The concept was interesting (to me, anyhow). I liked the idea of an excellent president by day, advocating for freedom, fighting war, yet turning into the slayer of evil by night. That they didn’t quite get to gel properly. They did, however, get Benjamin Walker to look quite Abe-like as he aged. I understand that this was supposed to be slightly comedic, but I missed that mostly due to other disastrous elements.

I loved how the action scenes were done, particularly the fight sequences. I thought it was excellent how they took Abraham Lincoln into battle, and captured the essence of the cloak billowing fiercely and axe shining and moving as though an extension of him. That was selectively done and it was done well. In those scenes you can distinctly see the input of Timur Bekmambetov (who directed Wanted). For instance, the fight scene between Lincoln and the undead when he went to save his oldest school friend, Will, was an impressive one to watch, although I would love to know how you do handbrake turns in a carriage!

I would score Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter 4.5/10. The movie was a bit of a let down, considering the poster’s speak of greatness, the artwork was well done, and the previews looked decent. The story was dreadful, the acting atrocious, there was no real chemistry between any of them… I don’t know, it just didn’t impress me, and was really not worth checking out at all. I really could have utilized this movie’s time on something far more productive.