Wanted (2008)

When you know a film was directed by Timur Bekmambetov, who made Dnevnoy Dozor (2006), you know it’s going to be visually rich, heavy on the clever editing, and with intense action.

And you know that dialog is going to be spelled out in the environment rather than spoken.  If you remember Dnevnoy Dozor, you’ll know what I mean – the word ‘BITCH’ splattering on a wall in large bloody letters, and so on.  Here we have, for instance, the line “FUCK YO” spelled out in flying keyboard keycaps, and a single spinning bloodied tooth making up the last “u”, after a character is smashed in the face with a computer keyboard.

And you know that cars are probably going to be driven in very improbable ways.  Sideways along buildings… or sideways along buses.  Once you’re sideways and driving, it’s all much of a muchness, I find.

What you might not know is that Angelina Jolie is a FOX.  (Ok, actually you probably do know that.)  But you still wouldn’t expect that anyone would have the combination of a brain injury and sufficiently gigantic cojones to give her character the name Fox.  What you should know is that Morgan Freeman probably shouldn’t swear on screen (it sounds strange).  And that Tumnus can curve bullets in perfect arcs to strike objects behind obstacles.

Sorry, I don’t mean Tumnus, but actor James McAvoy, who played Tumnus in the first Narnia movie.  Here he’s a pretty close facsimile of the pre-psychotic break version of Tyler Durden.  Sitting in his office, inner monologue played out for all to hear, slowly swelling rage against his boss building inexorably to an explosion.

So, wow, not a fawn? That’s some dynamic range right there.

Actually, Fightclub gets just the first of many (ahem) tributes in this movie.  There’s a lot that really feels like it came from somewhere else.

But aside from being perhaps a little distracting, it doesn’t really matter that a lot of material is being lifted, because this movie is fun.  You will only take it seriously at your peril.  The action is ridiculous (but internally consistent).  There are ridiculous plotlines, and plotholes in them that you could drive a train through… Or flip a car over.

So if you can, just ignore the plotholes and enjoy the gunplay – this film features one of the most wonderfully preposterous sequences of running gun kumite battling.  (I was going to say gun kata, but that might make the few people who know what I’m talking about – *hint* Equilibrium *hint* – think it’s a more rigid and controlled sequence than the messy slow motion charging sliding, shot and bleeding, battle that it is.)

So, yes, I enjoyed it, and more than I expected I would, even in spite of so much of the premise being completely preposterous – everything with the loom, for instance, or the kid’s training (seriously? they’re just going to punch and stab him over and over again until he magically becomes elite?), or the overused curving bullets, that whole thing with the train, or any of the driving scenes.

Good fun, but if you don’t go to many movies you can probably skip this one pretty safely.