WANTED (2008)

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  • Release Date: 27/06/2008
  • Director: Timur Bekmambetov
  • Cinematography: Mitchell Amundsen
  • Screenplay : Michael Brandt, Derek Haas and Chris Morgan
  • Story : Michael Brandt and Derek Haas
  • Edited: David Brenner

Wanted is based on the graphic novel of the same name by Mark Miller and J.G Jones about an amoral protagonist who is an heir to a career as a super villain who learns of his lineage and also the fact that the world has been overtaken by such supervillains. Wanted, the film is a loose adaptation of the comic with only the basic elements of the comics incorporated. The film stars James McAvoy as Wesley Gibson, a down on luck almost spineless man who is targeted by an assassin who has previously killed his father. He is saved by Fox (Angelina Jolie) who introduces him to the Fraternity, a conglomerate of career assassins led by Sloan (Morgan Freeman). They train him to be able to not only save himself from his assassin but also to give him a fighting chance at revenge for his father’s death.

This was one of those films of 2008 that was lapped up by the action fans and was available in DVD and VCD in Hindi dubs. For those who don’t know what that means, the Hindi dubbed version of Hollywood films was a kind of a rarity in those days and the favor was extended only to those films that raked in the mullah at the domestic box office. Wanted appealed to the Hollywood crowd as well as the frontbenchers who normally watched nothing but Hindi films.

Timur Bekmambetov is a director who has a way with action films. One can easily distinguish his action films from others which is saying a lot about his achievements. Wanted is a film that is a testament to that very fact. It is a film that jumps from one action sequence to another through its runtime and interestingly enough, you never for once feel overexposed or jarred by the constant onslaught of set piece after another. It is so well choreographed and edited that it gives a feeling of a well-orchestrated musical score were a lot of elements gel together to give a compounded feeling.

Car chases, gun fights, hand to hand combats, blasts. You name it, Wanted has it. A large portion of the film is spent in the training of Wesley and these portions are no less entertaining and shattering in terms of impact than any other action sequence of the film. The bullet bending trick was probably a first for Hollywood and it is pulled off in a manner that leaves little to be desired. The climax is gigantic and it is pulled off in great style. I also loved the sequence where we are introduced to the character of Fox.

This film was marketed with more emphasis on Angelina Jolie’s character but in actuality, this is a film about James McAvoy’s Wesley and he doesn’t let us down even for a second. His character goes through a huge arc as he develops from being a meek and overpowered individual to a cutthroat assassin who is in total control of his life. Not only is he apt in the action sequences, the fact that he is such a good actor and has control over a range of emotions and expressions makes his performance relatable. In a film stooped with fantasy like this one, that’s a rare commodity and does wonders for the film as a whole.

Angelina Jolie is a screen stealer. She nearly eats up everyone else in every sequence that she shares with others. Here it is not a bad thing. Jolie looks sultry and is in top shape which not only lets her breeze through her action sequences but also makes her look alluring. She has enough charisma to make every word coming out of her mouth believable and that is an added advantage. Morgan Freeman with his silken voice is Morgan Freeman. The role of Sloane was perfectly suited for him as he has to do a lot of talking. We needed someone with his kind of voice to take us through all those expositions and dialogues.

Apart from the action and the three major performances, Wanted boasts of a breakneck speed. It’s lightning fast actually. The plot is laced with twists and turns here and there that neither feel farfetched nor leave you dazed. They are actually perfect for a film like this. The comic book source material does seem to have given the scriptwriters ample opportunity to flex their writing muscles.

In the present era of remakes and reboots, I am surprised why Wanted hasn’t had one even after a good 10 years of its release. It has the perfect ingredients to merit a sequel. The story is left open by the end of this film and that should only help in the process. If films like Resident Evil, Underworld and even the Fast and the Furious Franchise stretch to quadruple numbers, Wanted definitely deserves to be made into a trilogy atleast. It is one of those films of which I have fond memories growing up as a kid and it will forever remain special for me.

Rating: 3/5 (3 out of 5 Stars)

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