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Bending Bullets and a Fraternity of Assassins - "Wanted" Movie Review

 


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"Wanted" is the story of Wesley Gibson's transformation from non-confrontal nobody to a deadly assassin. Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) is an account manager who suffers from constant anxiety attacks, has a boss who is abusing her powers, and a girlfriend who is cheating on him with his best friend. Although he is aware of it all, he cannot break the monotony and subordination of his life. Although he makes it clear that he is unhappy with his state in life, he is unwilling to make a change.

That is, until “The Fraternity" comes calling for him. “The Fraternity" is a group of assassins who have been around for hundreds of years, killing off specific targets that come from the mysterious loom their ancestors developed, in order to keep the world running smoothly. When a rogue agent from the Fraternity kills Wesley's father (whom Wesley has not seen since he was born), the Fraternity is determined to acquire Wesley, for they believe he is the only one who can kill the rogue agent.

Although at first unwilling, Wesley eventually joins the Fraternity when he notices he does have some hidden assassin instincts inside of him. Under the training of Fox (Angelina Jolie) and Sloan (Morgan Freeman), Wesley quickly learns to become an elite killing machine. Eventually Wesley is given the task of assassinating the rogue agent, Cross, leading to the ultimate showdown of the best assassins in the world.

"Wanted" is an action-packed story that has to be taken purely at face value for simply that, an action movie. Majority of the moves Wesley, Fox, Sloan, Cross, and others make are completely unbelievable. However, they are so unique that they bring back memories of “The Matrix". For example, Sloan teaches Wesley how to “bend" bullets around a target. Anyone with any knowledge of weapons knows that this is impossible, and if you come into the movie thinking that, you're bound to be disappointed. If you come into the movie with an open mindset, and as Sloan even says (paraphrased), “If no one had ever told you that a bullets’ path was straight, would you assume such a path?", you can accept it as a unique visual effect, the same sort of effect that the time-bending scenes in “The Matrix" have on viewers.

However, these unrealistic visual effects go a bit too far in a couple scenes, and even just looking at the movie as pure action, it is hard not to say to yourself “There's no way that could happen. " Perhaps this is because the movie has not fully drawn you in yet, or perhaps it is because I as the viewer had not allowed myself to completely believe the unbelievable yet. I'm sure that different viewers of the movie are going to have different opinions on this portion, but by stopping and thinking about the reality of certain portions of the movie leaves the movie not fulfilling on its intended purpose.

"Wanted" quickly rebounds though with the constant twists as the movie draws to a conclusion. Many of the characters are forced to make instant tough choices based upon this new information, and the viewer is left guessing as to what will happen in the next moment. The first hour or so of “Wanted" leads you down the plot line of a clichéd action movie, but as soon as the story begins to come to a crux, the plot line completely changes, and changes multiple times. Each time, everything was explained perfectly, and I was thoroughly impressed.

The only other major flaw of the movie is the characters’ (most importantly Sloan's) discussion on fate. The Fraternity wants you to believe that mystical powers control a loom which determines the fate of the entire world. Although the visualization of the future actions of one criminal is played out when Wesley questions fate is interesting, it still presupposes that we as humans are destined to live our lives a certain way from start to finish. In addition, when the other characters are presented with this question, the fact that only Wesley sees the flaw in the logic seems a little hard to believe as well.

Despite this, “Wanted" is a stunning visual production and a great action movie. As I said earlier, it harkens back to the days of “The Matrix". However, due to these few flaws, it falls short of the impressiveness of “The Matrix", but still makes for a great summer action movie.

Grade: B

Kolin Kasten is a graduate of St. Norbert College with a Bachelor's Degree in English. He is a freelance writer who also works part-time for Monumental Films, a Wisconsin-based video business whose goal is to capture the important events in one's life on film. To learn more, please go to: http://www.monumentalfilms.net

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