Wanted (2-Disc Special Edition)

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Rating: R

Starring:
James McAvoy as Wesley Gibson
Morgan Freeman as Sloan
Angelina Jolie as Fox
Terence Stamp as Pekwarsky
Thomas Kretschmann as Cross
Common as Gunsmith
Kristen Hager as Cathy
Konstantin Khabensky as The Repairman
David O’Hara as Mr. X
Dato Bakhtadze as The Butcher
Chris Pratt as Barry
Lorna Scott as Janice
Sophiya Haque as Puja
Brad Calcaterra as Assassin Max Petridge

Directed by Timur Bekmambetov

Special Features:
Extended Scene
Special Effects: The Art Of The Impossible
Cast And Characters
Stunts On The L Train
Wanted: Motion Comics
And Much More! – Digital Copy of the Film

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French and Spanish Language Tracks
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 110 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the official DVD description:

“Loaded With Exclusive Action-Packed Features.

Wesley’s (James McAvoy) life is over – his pathetic, old one, anyway… Fortunately, it is all because of a girl. Enter sizzling-hot Fox (Angelina Jolie), who crashes into his life and introduces him to the Fraternity, a secret society of assassins, led by the enigmatic Sloan (Morgan Freeman). Seems Wes’s long-lost father was killed while working for the Fraternity and Wes has been selected to target the rogue member who murdered him. But before he can complete his assignment, Wes must first uncover the dark secrets behind the Fraternity in order to determine his own identity. ”

“Wanted” is rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, pervasive language and some sexuality.

Mini-Review:
I read the “Wanted” comic by Mark Millar and JG Jones. I enjoyed it but I wondered how they could make a marketable movie out of it. So when the filmmakers dropped the supervillain premise and went with a league of assassins, I wasn’t surprised. While I wonder what the supervillain version would have been like, they probably made the right move.

“Wanted” is a solid action flick. Who doesn’t love the classic tale of the ‘hero’s journey’? It’s the usual tale of the everyman rising to his full potential to become the hero. And James McAvoy makes a perfect everyman as Wesley Gibson. You believe him as an awkward geek, yet he’s equally believable as a super assassin. He was perfectly cast. Speaking of perfect casting, you have to recognize Angelina Jolie as Fox. She’s beautiful, yet totally believable as one of the world’s top assassins. Every scene she has with McAvoy is fun to watch whether she’s intimidating him or falling for him. Morgan Freeman is also perfectly cast as Sloan. He’s fatherly enough that Wesley would follow him unquestioningly, yet he has a hard edge that makes you believe he could be a killer. Without this perfect cast the movie wouldn’t be nearly as good.

Timur Bekmambetov seems to have stolen a page from the Wachowski’s playbook. “Wanted” feels a lot like “The Matrix” in its action scenes, yet it does some original things with the imagery. From a super assassin jumping across buildings to the trademark ‘curved bullet,’ Bekmambetov seems to have taken the next step with the effects rather than simply copy ‘Matrix bullet time’. It will be interesting to see what he can do with some better scripts.

As much fun as “Wanted” is, it does have some problems. There are some plot holes that Fox could drive a sports car through if you thought about them too long. There’s also a ridiculous setup that fate is communicating to the assassins through a loom. Even with Morgan Freeman solemnly delivering the history, it’s still a bit silly. The movie also takes a bit of a nosedive towards the end as it descends into the typical ‘shoot-em-up while blaring heavy metal music plays’. It lacks the elegance of the earlier action scenes.

If you want a good action movie, “Wanted” delivers. Just make sure to check your disbelief in at the door. The cool visuals, impressive action, and strong cast make this one worth checking out.

The bonus features on this DVD are rather standard. There’s an extended scene that’s not particularly noteworthy. There are also featurettes on the special effects, the stunts, the cast, and the characters. It was fun seeing “Wanted” writer Mark Millar interviewed on the DVD. (Yes, he makes a crack about Angelina Jolie falling for him.) There’s also a featurette comparing the final film to the original comic. I did find it ironic to hear the producers saying how they wanted to stay true to the comic despite their rather significant changes to the plot.

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