Sunday, July 6, 2008

Review: Wanted (2008)

Summer movies are like Coca Cola. Drink it carbonated, and the bubbles hide the less-than-inspiring flavour and the cloying sweetness. Drink it flat… well, how many people do you know that drink (and like) flat coke?

Wanted, directed by Timur Bekmambetov, is a perfect example of a carbonated movie. Drink it bubbly, full of fights, violence, bullets and explosions, pretty people (James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie), hero moments, reasonably good acting, lots of CGI, and a few interesting plot points, and it is a good summer movie.

However, drink it flat, and you’re left with a bit of a mess. In Wanted, the laws of physics are not only absent they are ludicrous, you see the ‘twists’ coming a mile away, the guiding principle of the movie is more ludicrous than the physics and the characters are ambiguous in their motivations.

Wanted marches boldly beyond normal action movie amorality into a kind of blind amoral madness that is only emphasized further by the movie’s premise. This is so stringent at the end of the movie that I was wondering if the movie was more supposed to be a kind of reverse morality like this Berenstain Bears book (“This is what you should NOT do.”) A little research proved this theory correct, in a manner of speaking: the script is an adaptation of a comic book series of the same name (by J.G. Jones and Mark Millar) which boldly embraces the ludicrously amoral main character.

Sadly, this clarity of vision is lost in the screenplay- perhaps by mistake, perhaps by design. Instead, we are left with a character who asserts morality in fits and spurts, apparently following some inner moral compass that is in reality mostly (but not entirely) ignored. In all… a bit of mess that is carried off solely by carbonated bubbles of gunfire.

Needless to say, Wanted (rated 18A, entirely for violence) is pretty bloody. It’s bloody in slow motion! It’s bloody in real time! It’s bloody for extended periods dedicated entirely to blood! Luckily, there’s a plot device to allow large amounts of gore in a short time without having the characters wind up in a hospital bed for a couple of months.

So, if you’re looking for something carbonated, something a little amoral (but not deep or thoughtful about it), something without the laws of physics or logic, and something a lot gory, Wanted is your ideal summer movie.

No comments: