2008-07-11 / Entertainment/Lifestyles


'Wanted' - Dead, Not Alive
Review By Robert Snyder

Actor James McAvoy must be a masochist.

In "The Last King of Scotland," he was hung up by hooks, pierced through his pecks. Now, "Wanted" has him beaten, shot, stabbed and beaten some more by his buddies. As they say, "With friends like that, who needs enemies." Which is the basic theme of "Wanted," where miserable office geek Wesley Gibson (McAvory) is pulled from his depression to train as a superhero assassin. It's during the training that he learns the meaning of physical pain and how to relieve it in bizarre sunken bathtubs.

Don't expect any sense coming from the comic-book-based film directed by Russian newcomer Timur Bekmambetov, who is essentially remaking "The Matrix" mixed with "Fight Club," with anorexic Angelina Jolie in her real-life companion Brad Pitt's part from the latter movie.

Female super assassin Fox (Jolie) enlists Wesley to join The Fraternity, a group of hired killers, taking their assignments from coded fabric in a weaving factory (stranger than the "Get Smart" shoe phone).

Heading the operation is the God-like Sloan (an almost catatonic Morgan Freeman, in a been-there-done-that mode). The script by Michael Brandt, Derek Haas and Chris Morgan provides no substantial story and no logic, although there is an implausible twist for those struggling to follow to the end. And that was stolen from the "Star Wars" movies.

What you get for your money are video-game-type car chases, shootings, train wrecks, blood squibs and a lot of slow-motion bullets going through people's brains and back again in reverse. Before long, sanctimonious attitudes in the face of nonsense transforms the repetitive action into a boring blur. This had me thinking about rising gas prices as the cars whizzed by.

Speaking of gas, don't waste it driving to "Wanted." Better to buy the "Grand Theft Auto" game or its sequels.

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