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Jul 10, 2008

Fletch's Film Review: Wanted

Note: for this review, I'm going to channel my allergies into the ability to type coherent sentences. It's a power that my father had, and now I have it. I will use it to rid the world of typos and misspellings. With great power comes great responsibility.

Note two: I realize that note one won't make a lick of sense if you haven't seen Wanted. Sorry about that. I've still honing my powers as we speak, so it's possible that I could be a bit rusty.

Note three: I totally wrote "I've still honing my powers" instead of "I'm still honing my powers" there. Again, sorry about that. Apparently, I need some dudes hitting me and/or coming at me with knives while I type. You know, for inspiration.

"If you spell another word wrong, I'll kill ya."

Thanks, Francis. I needed that.

Anyway, Wanted. What a hot mess, subtle as a frying pan to the face when all you wanted was a wake up call. In the world of Wanted, if a waiter spilled your drink on your lap, you'd be remiss if you didn't throw that sunuvabitch down a well filled with acid. In the world of Wanted, if you're hungry, you don't just eat a burger, you hunt down a cow, slaughter that bastard with a butter knife and dig into that raw flesh as if it were the first meal you'd eaten in years. You don't just go to bed at night, you bash your skull in with a jackhammer and a pound of Dramamine.

Why then, in adapting this comic for the big screen, didn't director Timur Bekmambetov go further? Why not just create this live action cartoon in the fashion of something like Sin City? As it stands, it's a weird hybrid that takes itself seriously for stretches, only to go into gonzo-insanity-no rules mode for every action piece. I'd have much preferred them to pick a path (and style) and stay the course - either take it seriously, meticulously offering explanations for the ridiculousness we're seeing onscreen, or say "Eff it" and go 300 on us.

Unfortunately for me, I really didn't embrace the crazy until the final minutes, when a donut and an energy drink come into play. Which is clearly my fault, as it was nuts from the start - I mean, really, a Goofle search for "Wesley Gibson" brings up zero results?

I mean "Google." Don't hurt me, Francis.

Fletch's Film Rating:

"You seem a decent fellow. I hate to chop your foot off and shove it into the hole where your head used to be."

12 people have chosen wisely: on "Fletch's Film Review: Wanted"

Nick said...

...this movie took itself seriously?


(By the way, I apparently need your awesome typing skills, because it just took me numerous times to type this message, including this added explanation, due to continuous typos).

Clive Dangerously said...

The first act, when it was a violent and brutal Office Space, was fantastic.

Then we're treated to the montage, and then the magical cotton gin or whatever. That part was unforgivably bad.

Fletch said...

Nick, I knew you'd ask me that.

It's the way that the tone switched back and forth. Just about everything prior to the scene one the rooftop was pretty straightforward. then, that scene (spoilers!) shows a guy jumping across, what, 50 feet, landing on a lower floor, etc, etc. Ok, so it went off the rails there. But it seemed to ground itself in reality (and character development), only to get even nuttier.

I guess I just wanted it to either try to be as realistic as possible or to go nuts the whole time. It felt like it shuffled back and forth instead.

Nick said...

I feel that you're attempting to reel me in here, Fletch...

...but I have to say it: The Matrix did the same thing.

(And no, I'm not conceding!).


Evan Derrick said...

Great review here, Fletch. I completely agree. Go all out or dial things back.

And yes, it did take itself way too seriously at times. The whole Loom of Fate business? If I remember correctly, Morgan Freeman discussed that with an entirely straight face. And what about Jolie's weepy "someone hurt my daddy" story? And the whole "Kill one, save a thousand" BS? Really? Kill one, save a thousand? Why not go all out like the comic did, and let everyone know that you're killing people just for the fun of it? Why make up some lame justification so we, as an audience, can feel better about our violence as entertainment?

Oh, I think I just answered my question.

Evan Derrick said...

Nick, The Matrix worked pretty hard to cultivate a justification for all of the flipping-off-the-wall-slipping-past-bullets business. Ok, so Wesley can ramp his heartbeat up and process things around him much, much faster. I can buy that. I don't buy that having a faster heart rate gives you the ability to flip your car into the air over another one in order to assassinate the guy through his sunroof.

Ok, this is getting nitpicky. I actually enjoyed the movie for all of its batsh*t insanity, but I do agree with Fletch that the tone was all over the place. If you've read the original comic, you can tell that they were attempt to do some kind of service to the source material while being totally unwilling to go as far as it did. In other words, they tried to have their cake and eat it too, and the result is a kind of a hodge-podge of awesome and stupid.

Fletch said...

Yeah...what Evan said. :)

And for the record, I would say that The Matrix took itself seriously the entire time. Of course, that's part of what killed the sequels, but that's neither here nor there...

This is totally off-topic, but thinking about Wanted, then The Matrix, then Star Wars reminded me of this:

I HATE it when movies create an awesome alternate reality, really get you sucked into it, then throw something in straight from the real world. It completely throws me out of the movie. A prime example of this would be the retarded play-by-play announcing (by the annoying as hell Greg Proops, no less) of the pod race in The Phantom Menace.

It's a long time ago in a galazy far, far away! Why is there a two-headed yahoo doing crappy high school quality play-by-play?!? For another (evil) George Lucas example, see the added singing in Jedi by that long-mouthed, loud-mouthed chick in Jabba's lair.

This might be deserving of its own post, actually...

Paul Arrand Rodgers said...

This wasn't really an adaptation of the comic book. They left out like...90% of the characters and maybe 100% of the story. The "twist" is the same, but executed in a wholly different manner.

I guess it's like I Robot, where they paid for the rights to the name but grafted a bunch of slick product endorsements to it instead of the novel. Here, they graft The Matrix onto the bare bones of Wesley Gibson sucking, then not sucking. They kinda leave out the war between supervillains (SUPERVILLAINS!) and invent the magic cotton gin from pretty much nowhere. And the Fraternity of Assassins. And a whole lot of other stuff...like Wesley being a fucking bitch for the whole movie. It's called WANTED because he's a bad person who kills and rapes a lot of things ("I raped an A-list celebrity"), but all that was conveniently left out.

It was still a decent bit of fun.

Daniel G. said...

Well this is interesting. You're one of only a couple of people I've heard ride the fence on this one. It's either been all out hate or all out love. Not having seen it, I don't expect I'd land much higher than you did.

Robb said...

I thought I was going to love this movie. I wanted to love it. I was willing to love it. But then I sorta didn't. Evan derrick said it best - I needed SOME justification to tolerate all the violence, and never got it. What made something like "Kill Bill" so exhilarating was completely absent here, leaving me uncomfortable and feeling a little guilty anytime something cool did happen. Shame.

WaywardJam said...

Fletch, wow we did split on this one. I wanted little more than bloody good fun and so I was pleased. I was just ticked that they had to throw in the voiceover spiel at the end, as a way to justify there whole carnage-fest as some sort of morality tale. Pfft, just put a bullet in 'em and be done with it like any action movie worth its salt.